The committee's discussion of the anything but robust mask mandate

Posted: 03/24/2022 09:33:16 Modified: 03/24/2022 09:32:25 Gwen Agna, a member of the Northampton Schools Committee, closed the Mar...



Posted: 03/24/2022 09:33:16

Modified: 03/24/2022 09:32:25

Gwen Agna, a member of the Northampton Schools Committee, closed the March 17 meeting by saying: ‘I hope the public will understand that it was not an easy decision’, referring to the committee’s vote to maintain the current term. masks in Northampton schools.

Really? In my view, the committee barely debated the mask mandate in any substantive way, but instead suspended its decision on a statement from Public Health Director Merridith O’Leary that was generated after a closed meeting. of the Superintendent’s Health Advisory Committee the day before. then read from the record by a school committee member who is a strong supporter of keeping the mask mandate.

Where was the discussion of the community survey specifically commissioned by the committee to get community feedback on school masking, which showed strong support from all stakeholders for a mask-optional policy? Where was the discussion of the details of O’Leary’s statement? Why was O’Leary not present at the meeting to answer questions from committee members? Why hasn’t there been a review of statistics specific to the Northampton school community — vaccination rates, transmission rates, etc.? hide optional policy?

Why haven’t members done their own due diligence regarding transmission rates at area schools that have switched to mask-optional? To be clear, I have enormous empathy for those on both sides of the school mask debate and don’t have strong feelings either way, despite having kids attending the NPS. What is more troubling to me than the decision itself is the process by which the decision was made.

As someone who has attended almost every Committee meeting over the past few years, I have found the normally high level of preparation and discussion among members to be lacking. I’m sure it was easier just to accept O’Leary’s last-minute statement in the face of such a difficult decision, but I hope that future committee discussions on this subject will prove more robust than this which happened on March 17.

Stephanie Pouliot

Northampton



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Newsrust - US Top News: The committee's discussion of the anything but robust mask mandate
The committee's discussion of the anything but robust mask mandate
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