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EBCFA- Face Coverings

Policy EBCFA

Adopted: September 3, 2020

Source: MASC - August 2020

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The Hopkinton Public Schools is committed to providing a safe environment during the
COVID-19 pandemic. According to public health experts, one of the best ways to stop the spread of coronavirus and to keep members of our school community safe is the use of face masks or face coverings. Therefore, in accordance with guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the following requirements are in place until further notice.

A face covering that covers the nose and mouth must be worn by all individuals in school
buildings, on school grounds, at school-sponsored events, and on school transportation, even
when social distancing is observed. This may be a disposable 3-ply mask (or better) or a cloth
mask. On school transportation, students may wear a face shield in addition to a mask that covers the nose and mouth.

When you wear a cloth mask, it should:

  • Cover your nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction and
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

The Hopkinton Public Schools will not allow neck gaiters, bandanas, or masks with an
exhalation valve. Discretion regarding mask efficacy will be left to building administrators.
Masks should not express the following: obscenities, threats, lewd or vulgar language and should not carry graphics or slogans that are disruptive to class.

Masks or face coverings will not be required for anyone who has a medical, behavioral or other challenge making it unsafe to wear a face mask or face covering. A written note from a physician is required for a requested exemption. Parents may not excuse their child from the
face mask requirement by signing a waiver. 

Additionally, face masks or face coverings will not be required when appropriate social distancing is enforced:

  • during mask breaks;
  • while eating or drinking;
  • while outside.

Exceptions to this policy under certain circumstances, such as for students with medical,
behavioral or other challenges who are unable to wear masks, must be approved by the building principal in consultation with the school nurse or local Board of Health. Face shields or physical barriers may provide an alternative in some instances.

Additional exceptions apply to teachers or staff working in the building alone in defined spaces, such as teaching to a remote class from a classroom or working in the main office in off-hours when the building is empty.

A student's mask or face covering is to be provided by the student's family. However, the district will supply disposable face coverings for individuals who arrive at a building, or board school transportation, without one.

If students are in violation of this policy, the building principal will determine whether the
student may be removed from the school building for in-person learning until such time as they can comply with the requirement or the requirement is lifted. 

Violations of this policy by staff will be handled in the same manner as other violations of School Committee policy.

Visitors in violation of this policy will be denied entry to the school/district facility.

Legal References:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, COVID-19 Order No. 31 -
https://www.mass.gov/doc/may-1-2020-masks-and-face-coverings/download

References:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention - Considerations for Wearing Masks -
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education - Reopening Guidelines -
http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/
Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Mask Up MA! - https://www.mass.gov/news/mask-up-ma

School Committee Policies