HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – As the back to school season approaches, school districts are determining whether or not to bring back public health protocols like masking.
School officials and parents are at odds with one another, some families want those health restrictions while others think kids should go back maskless.
Mary Ellen Atchinson of Holyoke told 22News, “I think the children should be safe and that’s what we all want so. I think the masking would not be a bad idea and the distancing as well.”
The CDC is offering new guidance as we approach back to school season. Emphasizing the importance on vaccinations, proper ventilation in classrooms, having students stay home when sick, and the sanitization and disinfection of surfaces regularly.
“I think we should go back to the masking. I think there’s so much flu now going around, people are concerned and we’ve gotten very used to doing away with the masks again,” said Atchinson.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19 they must isolate for at least five days and can return if there are no more symptoms. Students returning to classes following COVID-19 infection may be asked to wear a mask up to day 10 after testing positive. However, not everyone wants masks to come back.
Amber Forgues of Holyoke said, “I just don’t think that the masks are helpful at all. It’s not worth fighting with the kids to get them on, it’s not worth having them. I don’t think they should bring them back.”
Northampton Public Schools have decided to keep masks in place, while other school districts such as Springfield Public Schools have a mask optional policy and will only require masks in school health offices.
The Commonwealth is no longer recommending universal mask requirements, surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals, contact tracing, or test-to-stay testing in schools.