Westbrook Public Schools to require masks on campus in the fall

Westbrook middle and high schools are located at 154 and 156 McVeagh Road. The district will be requiring students and staff to continue wearing masks this fall.

Westbrook middle and high schools are located at 154 and 156 McVeagh Road. The district will be requiring students and staff to continue wearing masks this fall.

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

WESTBROOK — Westbrook Public Schools students, staff and visitors will be required to wear face masks as part of reopening plans for the 2021-22 academic year, the district officials announced at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

The reopening plan states that, as of May 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continued to recommend wearing masks as a preventive mitigation method to keep schools open. This is why masks are required, according to the document.

Recommendations from the state Department of Public Health and Connecticut State Department of Education were also taken into account, Superintendent Kristina Martineau wrote in an email Friday.

“When the new guidelines and requirements are released by the CT DPH and CSDE this summer, we will review the most updated information, and revise the reopening plan based on this information and community feedback,” she said.

Masks are required indoors and on school buses, but will not be required outdoors if students can socially distance. If social distancing is not possible during large events, masks must be worn.

“Under certain circumstances, per CT Department of Health, students and staff may remove masks during recess, gym, and outdoor activities that include movement, and when other mitigation strategies are in place,” the reopening plan read.

There are exceptions to mask wearing for those who have trouble breathing or a medical reason that makes it unsafe to wear a face covering. These instances will require a doctor’s note and a review by the school’s medical director.

Masks will be provided to students and staff if they do not have one for the day. Masks breaks will also be allowed and occur outside at lunch or recess.

The district will also continue cleaning high-touch surfaces and regularly disinfect surfaces at least once per day, it said.

As for testing and vaccinations, the district does not plan on testing students and staff onsite. While many in the Westbrook schools do not meet current vaccine requirements, the district will continue to work with the Westbrook Health Department and CT River Area Health District to relay the most up-to-date information on vaccination sites, student eligibility and access.

The plan will be updated every six months, or earlier if necessary, based on data and guidance. It will be available on the school website and sent to the school community.

The next update to the plan is scheduled for a December board meeting.

christine.derosa@hearstmediact.com