Parents and school children enthusiastic over the lifting of face mask mandates after February 28 shouldn’t toss their masks out yet.
During a Newtown Board of Education meeting on February 15 during which the school board voted to lift face mask requirements in the school district, Superintendent Dr. Lorrie Rodrigue reminded parents in attendance numerous times that federal orders still require masks to be worn on the school bus.
In her announcement on Twitter that Stamford will no longer require face masks in school starting on March 16, Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons also reiterated that masks will be required on school buses.
“Federal requirements mandate that students must continue to wear masks on buses regardless of the relaxation of our in-school requirements,” Simmons wrote.
Gov. Ned Lamont’s emergency powers ended February 15, and after February 28, the decision over whether or not to require children wear face masks in school is left to each school district’s board of education.
The General Assembly also voted to extend the Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergency declarations until June 30, allowing the Department of Public Health to re-institute the mask requirement for schools if they deem it necessary to protect public health.
While the Centers for Disease Control still recommends masking for children K-12, numerous states across the country that previously had statewide mask mandates for schools have begun to lift them, including New Jersey, California and Massachusetts.
The CDC’s public transportation order was amended to allow optional masking at outdoor transportation hubs – or in this case, the school bus stop – but once inside a public transportation vehicle the mask order remains in effect.