LITTLETON — Superintendent Kelly Clenchy and the Littleton Public Schools wish to share an update regarding the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) mask mandate for the 2021-22 school year.
On Tuesday, Aug. 24, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met and voted to give DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley the authority to institute a mask mandate for the beginning of the coming school year.
Following the approval of his mask mandate, all K-12 students, educators and staff will be required to wear a mask while in schools through Oct. 1 to ensure schools fully reopen safely and to provide ample time for more students and educators to get vaccinated.
After Oct. 1, the policy will allow middle and high schools to lift the mask mandate for vaccinated students and staff only if the school meets a certain vaccination rate – at least 80 percent of students and staff in a school building are vaccinated. Unvaccinated students and staff would still be required to wear masks. As the District nears this date further information will be shared.
Community members should also note that under the DPH’s mask advisory, masks are mandatory for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, while using public transportation and rideshares, and while inside health-care facilities and other settings. As a result, students riding any district bus or visiting any of the district’s health offices must continue to wear masks at all times.
“The last 18 months have been extremely trying due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we understand that our students and families may be frustrated by DESE’s decision,” Superintendent Clenchy said. “However, Littleton Public Schools must follow the state’s guidance, and ensure that our students and staff return to school and remain safe. We strongly encourage all staff and students to get vaccinated so that we can consider implementing the 80 percent threshold that would lift the mask mandate for vaccinated students and staff after Oct. 1.”