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The Andover Public Schools District is committed to providing a safe environment as schools reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to public health experts, one of the best ways to stop the spread of coronavirus and to keep members of our school community safe is the use of face masks. Therefore, in accordance with guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the following requirements are in place until further notice.
A face mask that, per DPH guidance:
• covers the nose and mouth; • fits securely and comfortably against the side of the face;• is secured with ties or ear loops;• allows for breathing without restriction;• does NOT have an exhalation valve or vent;• can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change of shape if a multi-use mask;• is a fresh surgical mask if single use
must be worn by all individuals in school buildings, on school grounds and on school transportation, even when social distancing is observed.
Individuals may be excused from the requirement for the following list of reasons, per CDC guidance:
• has trouble breathing;• is unconscious;• is incapacitated;• cannot remove a face mask without assistance
Accommodations will be made for individuals for whom face masks are not possible due to medical conditions, disability impact, a significant impediment to communication, or other health or safety factors, which for students may include behavioral challenges. Medical documentation acceptable to APS is required for a requested accommodation. Any accommodations must be approved by the building principal in consultation with the school nurse or local Board of Health. Face shields or physical barriers may provide an alternative in some instances. Parents may not excuse their child from the face mask requirement by signing a waiver.
Face masks will not be required when appropriate social distancing is enforced:
• during mask breaks;• while eating or drinking;• while alone in an office or classroom;• during physical education classes; and• during athletics as defined by the MA EEA
A student’s face mask or face covering is to be provided by the student’s family. Staff members are responsible for providing their own face mask or face covering. However, the district will supply a disposable face mask for individuals who arrive at a building, or want to board school transportation, without one.
If students are in violation of this policy, the building principal or designee will consult with the parent/guardians to determine whether an accommodation is appropriate, or the student may be removed from in-person learning in the school building until such time as they can comply with the requirement, or the requirement is lifted.
Violations of this policy by staff will be handled in the same manner as other violations of School Committee policy.
Visitors in violation of this policy will be denied entry to the school/district facility.
This policy will remain in place until rescinded by the School Committee.