EHHS students and staff have been wearing face masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 since the return to school in September 2020. The EHPS administration implemented the mask mandate in 2020 and urges all individuals in the building to adhere to the requirements while the mandate is still in effect. Since the return to school, EHHS has implemented a strict policy for masking in conjunction with the East Shore Health Department and the CDC guidelines. EHHS has also seen a constantly fluctuating number of individuals with COVID-19 cases and requiring quarantine.
According to the CDC, students should be at least three feet apart and anyone over the age of two years old should wear a mask in an indoor setting (unless they have a medical condition preventing them from doing so). Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should quarantine for 5-7 days or until they have negative results. Along with that, the mask mandate is an executive order from Governor Lamont.
According to EHHS nurse, Ms. Karen Riccio, vaccination rates have gone up and positive COVID cases have gone down. A lot of people have extra immunity due to being vaccinated or already having the COVID-19 antibodies.
To some teachers like EHHS English teacher, Ms. Leann Boisvert, masks are very vital to keep us safe. They are here to keep us protected, as well as others. To Ms. Boisvert, wearing your mask correctly, “Shows empathy for others when you don’t know everyone’s business.” She also points out that students become agitated when they are asked to wear their masks correctly, over their nose and mouth.
EHPS Superintendent Mrs. Erica Forti, has stated that “Anyone, regardless of who they are, must wear a mask in a public school setting.” She too has noticed people who are not wearing masks correctly within the building. She has said that while it is a challenging concept for a lot of students, reminders are helpful and we must make every effort possible to wear our masks correctly.
In his recent announcement on February 7, 2022, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont stated, “Connecticut is seeing a dramatic decline in cases caused by the Omicron variant, and children over the age of 5 have had the ability to get vaccinated for more than three months now… With that in mind, I think we are in a good position to phase out the requirement that masks be worn in all schools statewide and shift the determination on whether to require this to the local level.” Governor Lamont is leaving it up to each district to make an independent decision. Ms. Boisvert and Ms. Riccio have stated that they are both nervous about EHPS’ decision about this new mandate. Mrs. Forti believes that they will re-evaluate the entire situation as this is the first thing that districts have been able to decide on their own.
EHHS is doing all they can to follow government mandates while trying not to polarize others in the process.