New York State In-depth

Chelsea Public Schools issue a mask mandate as COVID-19 risk levels rise

Chelsea Public Schools introduced a mask mandate for students and staff after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified Suffolk County as “high risk” for transmission of COVID-19. The designation includes a recommendation that all people should wear masks indoors, the superintendent saying: “We’re still in danger, it’s still happening, you know what we can do to protect ourselves and our children,” said Parent Jacqueline Melendez. Masks must be worn in school buildings at all times except when eating or drinking. “I think based on what we saw in Chelsea at the start of the pandemic, we really made it our mission to be on the front lines of taking action that has proven to be helpful for the school district and our community,” said Roberto Jimenez-Rivera, a member of the Chelsea School Committee. Mask wearing will remain mandatory for everyone visiting school health departments and for anyone returning to school from a fi five-day quarantine following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Last April, the Chelsea School Committee voted to remove mask requirements in schools, provided CDC recommendations didn’t change based on Suffolk County’s risk level. “People just get sick everywhere. I first got COVID just a few weeks ago,” Jimenez-Rivera said. With the change in risk levels, CPS will follow its established protocols and reintroduce its mask mandate. “We will continue to regularly monitor the data and follow CDC recommendations should risk levels change. The safety of our community is our top priority,” said Dr. Almi G. Abeyta, Superintendent of Chelsea Public Schools, in a note to the school community. Chelsea appears to be the first school district in the region to reintroduce the mask mandate. Other Massachusetts school counties, including Arlington, Newton and Boston, have asked students and staff to wear masks in the weeks following winter break.

Chelsea Public Schools have introduced a mask mandate for students and staff after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified Suffolk County as “high risk” for transmission of COVID-19.

The designation includes a recommendation that all people should wear masks indoors, the superintendent said.

“We’re still in danger, it’s still happening, you know what we can do to protect ourselves and our children,” said parent Jacqueline Melendez.

Masks must be worn in school buildings at all times except when eating or drinking.

“I think based on what we saw in Chelsea early in the pandemic, we really made it our mission to be on the front lines of taking actions that were helpful for the school district and for our community at large,” said Roberto Jimenez -Rivera, member of the Chelsea School Committee.

Mask-wearing remains mandatory for everyone visiting school health departments and returning to school after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis from a five-day quarantine.

Last April, the Chelsea School Committee voted to remove mask requirements in schools, provided CDC recommendations didn’t change based on Suffolk County’s risk level.

“People just get sick everywhere. I first got COVID just a few weeks ago,” Jimenez-Rivera said.

As risk levels change, CPS will follow its established protocols and reintroduce its mask mandate.

“We will continue to regularly monitor the data and follow CDC recommendations should risk levels change. The safety of our community is our top priority,” said Dr. Almi G. Abeyta, Superintendent of Chelsea Public Schools, in a note to the school community.

Chelsea appears to be the first school district in the region to reintroduce the mask mandate.

Other Massachusetts school districts, including Arlington, Newton and Boston, have asked students and staff to wear masks in the weeks following the winter break.

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