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.