“The health and safety of students, educators, education support professionals, and the wider community must be the top priorities for any school reopening plans. For schools in the seven “hot-spot” counties where the risk of spreading the virus is greatest, requiring everyone – students and staff – to wear masks could save lives,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro.
Initial guidance from the governor’s office to shape reopening plans had encouraged students to wear masks, but they would not have been required. The new order from the governor strengthens the directive from the state.
“The evidence from public health experts makes clear that masks are, absent a vaccine, the best method we have so far to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Masks have been shown to help protect the people around an infected person from coming into contact with virus-laden respiratory droplets, which can disperse even when that person shows no symptoms,” DiMauro said. “After urging the governor to provide stronger enforcement of his school reopening guidelines, OEA is heartened to see him take this common-sense measure.”
As school districts around the state continue to develop their plans for how to safely reopen schools in the fall, OEA urges local officials to work collaboratively with educators on the policies and procedures that will best serve students.