Dear Members of the School Community,
Earlier today (August 24), the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education granted Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley the authority to mandate masks for all public K-12 students, educators, and staff through October 1 to ensure schools fully reopen safely and to provide time for more students and educators to get vaccinated. After October 1, the Commissioner’s policy would 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.
The mandate will include exceptions for students who cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions or behavioral needs.
The Commissioner will revisit the mandate in the near future to revise it as warranted by public health data. The purpose of the Commissioner’s policy is to encourage higher vaccination rates among students and staff and to implement a uniform policy for all schools to begin the year.
Given the local interest in the masking debate, it’s important to note that the actions of the Board and Commissioner have effectively removed local decision making for the masking debate.
Stoughton's most recent vaccination data which encompasses middle and high school aged students, posted by the Commonwealth on Thursday, August 19th, is as follows:
- For Stoughton residents ages 12 - 15, 58% have at least one shot, 42% are fully vaccinated.
- For Stoughton residents ages 16 - 19, 72% have at least one shot, 58% are fully vaccinated.
The District will continue to track the local vaccination rates and other related health metrics. Any changes to the mask mandate, or related policy issues will be conveyed to the SPS community in a timely manner to ensure everyone understands the factors influencing the District’s policies, procedures, and decision-making process.