NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Continued controversy surrounding mask policy at Northampton Public Schools and who should decide it.

This issue really boils down to who should dictate mask policy, putting the school committee and two of its sub-committees at odds. For the current school year the Northampton School Committee established a COVID Advisory Committee.

That committee voted earlier this month that the district should adhere to the state’s COVID-19 policy rather than trying to come up with its own. That decision was then sent to the Rules and Policy Sub-Committee for consideration, which prompted a letter signed by 200 residents asking the district to adopt state policy.

Rob Moore from Amherst told 22News, “The state is the one that has all the public health resources and expertise. Certainly we’re all paying for it. So I’d say let’s defer to them. It’s not just an issue with schools, it’s an issue with getting a lot of things done. There are many stakeholders. That’s one of the benefits of living out here, is there is a general respect for individual stakeholders. But that also presents a lot of challenges.”

There’s a school committee meeting scheduled for November 3rd with masking and COVID control policy on the agenda. They will discuss the recommendation from the COVID Advisory Board, and take input from the Rules and Policy Sub-Committee.

Right now, Northampton schools require universal masking when Hampshire County is marked at high risk level by the CDC. For medium risk levels, masks are encouraged. On Wednesday, the CDC had Hampshire County ranked as medium risk.

For universal mask policy to go away, the county must move back to low risk for two consecutive weeks.