Whether or not to continue requiring mask wearing at EG schools will be on the School Committee agenda for its meeting Tuesday according to School Committee Chair Anne Musella. This follows Gov. Dan McKee’s announcement Wednesday lifting the statewide school mask mandate March 4, leaving decisions about mask wearing to be made by individual school districts.
While the School Committee has the authority to revise the district’s COVID policy, a revision approved last August included language giving Supt. Alexis Meyer authority to revise mask rules.
“As a practical matter,” said Musella, “we work closely with the superintendent in developing and drafting all district policies. Throughout Covid, the School Committee has always followed her recommendations.”
One of the reasons McKee noted for deciding to drop the mask mandate was Rhode Island’s high vaccination rate. In East Greenwich, as of Feb. 5, 79 percent of eligible students had received at least two doses of the vaccine; 82 percent were partially vaccinated. Everyone 5 years and older is able to receive the vaccine. That still leaves pre-K students unvaccinated.
COVID-19 case counts among EGSD students and staff peaked at 160 the first week of January; they were down to 22 the first week in February.
Meanwhile, Town Manager Andy Nota said as of Monday (2/14) masks are optional for in-person meetings in all East Greenwich public buildings for those who are fully vaccinated and can show proof of vaccination. For everyone else, masks are still required.
The Town Council will meet virtually with the School Committee Monday but it plans to return to hybrid (in-person and virtual) for its following meetings, starting Tuesday, Feb. 22.