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BPS wants students, teachers and staff to wear masks for the first eight days of school, but won't punish anybody who refuses

BPS today announced its masking policy for the restart of the school year next week.

Between Jan. 4 and Jan. 13, or eight school days, students will be asked to wear masks. Returning employees have to start Jan. 3.

This is our ask and expectation of students and staff - not a mandate - which will be in effect during the school day on school premises and school buses. BPS will provide disposable face masks to students or staff who need them. No one will be disciplined or sent home if they refuse to wear a mask. Masks will be available for student athletes at practices and games, but not expected.

BPS says that the first couple of weeks of school last year saw the system's largest Covid-19 surge, resulting in significant staffing shortages that made it difficult to keep schools open. In January, 2022, an average of 1,200 staffers and 8,500 students were out due to Covid-19.

Numbers from Deer Island released today show a potential spike in cases in a week or so.

BPS says Covid-19 so far has been less disruptive than last year, but that other respiratory illness, in particular the flu, are hitting BPS harder: 60% of all flu cases in Boston are in teens and younger children.

Our goal with temporary masking is to mitigate and prevent an even bigger surge that would result in overwhelming student and staff absences this January.



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Confusion reigns in BPS can hardly wait for the MBTA to chime in

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Virus up, masks on.

Virus down, masks off.

You might want to get an evaluation if that confuses you.

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If masks worked and didn't harm children, then it would be no brainer to institute a mandate. So.

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under a different name?

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My immigration status has no bearing here.

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Your comments have the same voice as Refugee's did. Ban evasion?

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Last I checked, there wasn't a mandate, unless you're a food service employee, for washing your hands after using the toilet. Or for covering your mouth when you sneeze. There are a lot of behaviors that are a simple matter of decency and respect for the well-being of others that we teach, without using force to compel compliance.

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Citations needed.

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For logic 101?

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Generally, if you want a policy like this, you *say* it's required, but then don't enforce it. But if you announce in advance "we're not going to enforce it" you're going to have really low compliance.

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"We've looked at the big picture and at the data. Wearing a mask during the post-holiday spike is protective of your schoolmates, your teachers, their respective families, and maybe even of yourself. How about you act like a civilized person, conscious of your role in the world and of the impact of your personal choices on those around you, and do the right thing, without being forced to do so?"

Seems like exactly the sort of message I would like educators to be sending our kids.

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I agree but the condescension can be removed without watering down the message. It all goes out the window the second someone feels they're being talked down to, especially with those who lean towards wearing no mask.

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Low literacy communications are necessary in public health.

The problem is that people who are clearly lacking a factual argument nearly always complain of being "talked down to" because they are emotionally reactive to any message that doesn't align with what they want to hear/believe.

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“We know more than you do,” is not a completely out of line subtext for communications from teachers to schoolchildren.

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