Some schools bring back masks amid uptick in COVID cases
A small number of schools are bringing back masks as COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
Why it matters: It's a stark contrast compared to previous surges when masking in schools was widespread, underscoring the public's reluctance to reinstate pandemic restrictions two-plus years into the pandemic, AP notes.
Driving the news: Portland, Maine brought back its mask mandate this week, with Superintendent Xavier Botana saying "a return to required masking [is] the safest course at this time," per a letter to parents.
- "I understand how disappointing this change may be to many of you who stopped wearing a mask when masking became optional," Botana added.
- A middle school and high school in another Maine district have transitioned to remote learning for the rest of the week due to staffers testing positive, WGME-TV reports.
Pittsburgh Public Schools brought back its mask mandate on Friday, less than two weeks after masks were made optional in schools, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
In Ohio, the Bedford School District reinstated its mask requirements for all staff, students and visitors to any district buildings, per News 5 Cleveland.
- "You kind of let your guard down, so that’s what we were starting to do. And now that the masks are back on, we’re like, ‘Oh wait a second, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic,'" Rosalyn Wells, the mother of a third-grader said.
School officials in Northampton, Massachusetts also reinstated their mask mandate this week.
- "I know there will be a variety of opinions concerning this decision,” the district's superintendent, John Provost, said in a letter to the school district, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.
- "It is not one that I made lightly. Keeping our school community safe and our schools open and functioning are my most important duties at this time."
The big picture: The majority of school districts nationwide have not reinstated mask mandates amid the current uptick in cases, per AP.
- But, some parents in districts where masks have been reinstated are not pleased with the decision.
- "They should go back to essentially a mask recommendation or mask optional policy," said Northampton parent Patrick Boughan, Western Mass News reports.
- "With all of these measures we have, including vaccines and boosters, we are in a different world than we were in 2020 when we reached for these mask mandates," Boughan added.
Go deeper ... The fight over mask mandates in schools turns violent