August 16, 2021
Andover Public Schools Updates Mask Policy for Fall 2021-22 Opening
Dear APS families and staff,
Since March 2020, we have been faced with interrupted learning and challenging experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges remain on our minds as we plan to welcome our students and staff back to school in a couple of weeks.
The work of reopening schools in a pandemic is complex, and this work must always keep the health and safety of our students and staff at the forefront. Each family has a unique view on their experiences with COVID-19, vaccines, data, and the recommendations of public health professionals. We have heard from many in the community, and we are grateful for your engagement with us. While Andover’s decisions may vary from other districts or a family’s personal perspective, our collective responsibility is to ensure a safe, in-person learning environment for all of our students this school year.
With the focus on public health and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and at the recommendation of local health officials and district medical staff, the School Committee voted on August 16, 2021 to approve a revised version of its face coverings policy (EBCFA – Face Coverings) for the 2021-22 school year.
Effective immediately, all students, staff, and visitors at Andover Public Schools will be required to wear masks while indoors. This is regardless of vaccination status and applies to all grade levels (PreK-12). This protocol is based on collaboration with the Town of Andover Health Division, APS Director of Nursing, and the district’s physician, Dr. Kenneth Chan. We currently anticipate this protocol will be in effect until November, however, we may make adjustments sooner based on recommendations from our local health officials and district medical staff. By federal public health order, all students and staff are required to wear masks on district provided transportation at this time.
Accommodations will be made for those 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. A written note from a physician is required for a requested exemption. Families may not excuse their child from the face mask requirement by signing a waiver.
We will communicate additional guidance in the coming weeks. We are looking forward to having our students and staff return to schools and thank you for your patience as we work together in our efforts to keep our schools open and safe for all.
Dr. Magda Parvey
Superintendent, Andover Public Schools