Longmeadow Board of Health changes mask mandate to advisory

Coronavirus Local Impact

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Longmeadow Board of Health voted to change the mask mandate for all indoor public places and replace it with a mask advisory on Tuesday.

The town of Longmeadow plans to continue to follow CDC guidelines and the Mass Department of Public Health’s advisories, recommending unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors. The advisory recommends that vaccinated people who have increased risk from COVID-19 or live with someone with increased risk should wear masks indoors other than their home.

“Having a young child and being pregnant myself, I did appreciate the mask mandate. It was just an added layer of protection,” said Cassie Williamson of Longmeadow.

The Board also voted to change the mask mandate for the town’s schools with a recommendation to follow the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidelines, as well as review COVID-19 data and transmission rates for the town and region.

The mask mandate for K-12 schools will remain until at least January 15, 2022, but if a school reaches 80% vaccination of students and staff they can apply with the state to waive the mask mandate.

“The school is still under the regulation of DESE and they have extended their mask mandate through January 15th of 2022,” said Dr. Robert Baevsky, chair of the Longmeadow Board of Health. “If the school board would like to have the exemption to the mask mandate put in place they will have to petition and file the paperwork with DESE to get that done.”

According to Superintendent of Schools Marty O’Shea, the schools do not meet the 80% threshold for fully vaccinated as of Tuesday.

Figures presented during School Committee meeting

An earlier version of this story contained information from Dr. Baevsky stating the middle and high school in Longmeadow have met the DESE requirement of 80% vaccinated students and school staff, which makes the schools eligible to lift the indoor mask mandate.

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