For a pdf version of the ARPS Update, please click here.
Para uma versão do ARPS Update em português, clique aqui.
On Monday, Governor Baker announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate for schools will be lifted when it expires on February 28. This announcement has led to a great deal of discussion across the state about whether individual districts should still continue masking indoors anyway.
I want to remind the ARPS community that, regardless of the change in the statewide mask mandate, the Town of Amherst has an indoor mask mandate in place that states “Masks must be worn at all times in public indoor spaces and private indoor spaces open to the public, whether individuals are vaccinated or not and no matter what the distances are between one person and others.” This includes the schools, of course, and since the Health Director has indicated that the town-wide mandate will not change this month, there will not be any change in the requirement for all staff and students to mask while indoors at any of the Amherst, Pelham or Regional schools. As an aside, masks have not been required outdoors in ARPS during this academic year and no changes will be made there either.
While our District’s indoor masking requirement will not change at the end of February, it is clear that masking mandates will not remain in place indefinitely. Masking is one of many precautions to protect against COVID; others include ventilation, distancing, and vaccination, all of which have proven to be effective. Please remember that the most effective way to protect your children and yourselves against Covid, whether masking is mandatory or optional, is to be vaccinated (and receive a booster for those who are eligible). Because of the length of time it takes to become fully vaccinated, I highly recommend that anyone who is eligible for vaccination start the process soon. The Amherst Health Department continues to host free COVID vaccine clinics for anyone age 5 or older every Thursday from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at the Bangs Center in downtown Amherst. If you need to schedule a first, second or booster dose, please consider utilizing this important community resource. You can register at https://www.amherstcovid19.org/vaccine.