NORFOLK — Superintendent Dr. Ingrid Allardi and the Norfolk Public Schools would like 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 upcoming school year.
In adherence with his mask mandate, all Norfolk Public Schools 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 educators and students who are eligible to get vaccinated.
Norfolk Public Schools serves children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. As such, after Oct. 1 unvaccinated students and staff will 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 healthcare 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 while in these settings.
“We understand that there are many different perspectives and feelings about mandating masks in schools for the upcoming year, yet it remains our top priority to ensure our students are safe and able to learn in person this year with their teachers and peers,” Superintendent Allardi said. “As such, we will follow the directives of the state and will continue to monitor the research and transmission rates in our schools and community. We look forward to welcoming students back next week!”
Norfolk Public Schools will continue to reevaluate the mask policy throughout the school year to ensure that the health and safety needs of students, staff and their families are being met and should the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic change.