TYNGSBOROUGH — Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Flanagan and Police Chief Richard D. Howe would like to remind residents that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) mandates that all students and staff wear masks while indoors at schools.
Education Commissioner Jeff Riley, with authorization from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, instituted the mask mandate in late August. On Monday, Riley extended that mandate until at least Nov. 1. Riley also extended until at least Oct. 15 the date by which schools with at least 80 percent of students and staff vaccinated may begin seeking exemptions from the mandate.
Superintendent Flanagan and Chief Howe would like to ask the entire community to be mindful of the importance of maintaining an atmosphere of mutual respect for residents and town board and committee members alike.
“We appreciate that state and local mask mandates are concerning to some residents,” said Superintendent Flanagan, “but we urge everyone to respect each others’ opinions, and to remember that those who serve on town boards are volunteers, serving in an effort to better our community.”
The Town of Tyngsborough and Tyngsborough Public Schools have not ordered independent local mask mandates, but the School District is required to implement the state mandate in school buildings at all times, including during after school activities, and during events the town holds in school buildings.
“The Tyngsborough Police Department and Tyngsborough Public Schools respect individual viewpoints, and we encourage residents to engage in the civic process with town officials,” Chief Howe said. “Volunteers who give their time to support our community should not be made to feel intimidated or have their regular work on behalf of the town interrupted by those seeking to rehash issues that — for now — have been mandated at the state level.”
The Tyngsborough Board of Health reports there were 82 positive cases of COVID-19 in Tyngsborough in August, and 96 so far in September, even though there were only two positive cases in June, and eight positive cases in July. As of Friday, there were 12 active positive cases among students and staff at Tyngsborough Public Schools.
Tyngsborough’s test positivity rate over the last two weeks was 6.29%, while the statewide positivity rate is 2.24%. Tyngsborough’s average daily incidence rate per 100,000 people was 38.2, while the statewide rate is 23.8, according to data from the Tyngsborough Board of Health and Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Both rates have been on the rise in Tyngsborough, according to DPH data.
“Superintendent Flanagan and I urge everyone to use caution and work together to help stop the spread of COVID-19, even as the mandates and measures meant to help remain an at times intense topic of debate,” Chief Howe said. “We respect the opinions of all who are part of our community, and we ask community members to respect the work of those who volunteer for our town as all face this virus together with the shared goal of working in the best interest of students and staff.”
For detailed data on vaccination and COVID-19 cases in the Tyngsboro Public Schools, click here.
For more information from the Massachusetts Department of Education regarding the extension of the statewide mask mandate in schools, click here.
For more information on COVID-19 and schools from the CDC, click here.