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Wednesday, February 09, 2022

麻州長查理貝克宣佈2月28日起取消 K-12 學校戴口罩規定

           (Boston Orange 編譯) 麻州州長查理貝克 (Charlie Baker) 和中小學教育廳 (DESE)廳長Jeffrey C. Riley (9) 日宣佈,全州幼稚園到12年級(k-12) 學校的戴口罩規定,228日起取消。

         麻州中小學教育廳及麻州公共衛生廳( DPH)仍建議學生及教職員在某些場合遵循教育廳的新冠病毒規定。學生搭乘校巴時,則須遵循聯邦政府規定,依舊得戴口罩。

          Jeffrey C. Riley表示,該廳從202110月發出戴口罩規定後,已3次展延該規定實施日期,現在是諮詢過傳染病醫生,麻州公共衛生廳,以及其他醫療專家後,做此決定。

          接種疫苗仍是防止染患新冠病毒的最佳保護,在全美各州中,麻州年輕人的新冠疫苗接種率是最高之一。麻州已完整接種新冠疫苗的人中,也已有52%注射了加強劑,比全美的42%為高。

         在學校檢測上,麻州在全美也名列前茅,最近還為學生及教育者推出了居家檢測項目。這些檢測選擇將保留不變。

        麻州州長查理貝克表示,小孩子的感染機率不高,即使染患,病情也多半很輕,再加上麻州小孩子接種疫苗率是全美最高之一,麻州又有很蓬勃的檢測項目,現在是取消在學校內得戴口罩規定的時候,讓學生及老師經歷2年挑戰後,恢復正常。他也相信在麻州新冠病毒的治理進入下一階段之際,已有更多工具可以保持學校安全。

          在取消戴口罩規定後,80%師生已接種新冠疫苗的各學區,將不再需要向教育廳申請豁免在學校樓宇內戴口罩的規定。不論接種率多寡,戴不戴口罩,將成為麻州各學區自己的選擇。

           截至目前,麻州已有68所學校師生接種率超過80%,遞交了豁免戴口罩申請。DESE也已批准了42宗申請案,並正在審查其他21宗申請案。

麻州有2000所公私立學校參加了麻州政府的新冠病毒檢測計畫,從麻州教育廳和公共衛生廳已取得相當多學校的 檢測並留校新冠病毒數據來看,截至1月,他們已做過950萬又3000多人次檢測,約99%結果是陰性,所以學校是很安全的教學環境。新冠病毒措施對學生們的影響,反而是心理健康,情緒好壞,以及學習效果。

 Statewide School Mask Requirement Will Be Lifted February 28

MALDEN – Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley announced today the statewide mask requirement for K-12 schools will be lifted on February 28. At that time, DESE and the Department of Public Health recommend students and faculty wear masks in certain scenarios consistent with DESE’s COVID protocols.
 
The decision was made in consultation with infectious disease physicians, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and other medical experts. Vaccinations are the best protection against COVID-19, and Massachusetts has among the highest vaccination rates of young people and is a national leader in overall vaccination. In Massachusetts, 52 percent of all individuals who are fully vaccinated have received a booster dose, compared to 42 percent of the national population.
 
Massachusetts also has nation-leading school testing programs, including a newly launched at-home testing program for students and educators. These testing options will remain in place.
 
“With Massachusetts a national leader in vaccinating kids, combined with our robust testing programs, it is time to lift the mask mandate in schools and give students and staff a sense of normalcy after dealing with enormous challenges over the past two years,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We have all the tools to keep schools safe as we move into dealing with the next phase of managing COVID.”
 
“Schools are safe environments, most children now have had access to vaccinations that greatly reduce the risk for severe disease for several months, and thousands of families across the Commonwealth have taken this opportunity to protect their children,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “This is the right time to lift the mask mandate, and we will continue to encourage vaccination and host clinics at any school that wants to hold one to further protect their students from COVID.”
 
The Department of Early Education and Care will also lift the mask requirements currently in place for all licensed child care providers effective February 28, and allow programs to develop policies specific to the children they serve. The Department of Early Education and Care will release additional guidance for programs next week. 
 
With the lifting of the statewide mask requirement, school districts no longer need to request a waiver from DESE to remove masks in school buildings where 80 percent of staff and students are vaccinated. Masking will be a community choice in schools across the Commonwealth, regardless of vaccination rates within a school; however, a school district could establish a local requirement. Many schools across the Commonwealth have already reached the vaccination benchmark and requested permission to remove masks. To date, DESE has received 68 requests from schools that submitted attestations that 80 percent of their students and staff are vaccinated. The Department has approved 42 requests and is in the process of reviewing another 21 requests before the statewide requirement ends.
 
“In a state with one of the highest vaccine acceptance rates in the country, and the state with the second highest vaccination rates among 5- to 11-year-olds, we must navigate the careful transition into opening up our society while simultaneously employing public health mitigation strategies. We are moving from mask requirement to mask optional, and we want school districts to move along with the state by making it optional, while still creating supportive environments for students and staff who choose to wear a mask,” said Education Secretary James Peyser.
 
Several other states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, have rescinded their school mask requirements in recent days.
 
The state’s nation-leading, robust school testing programs will remain in place. Last month, DESE and DPH launched updated school COVID-19 testing options, including providing participating teachers and staff with at-home rapid tests weekly, to optimize in-person learning. The two departments also released updated data on the pooled testing and Test and Stay programs, showing very few positive cases and low transmission rates.
 
With more than 2,000 public and private schools in the Commonwealth participating in COVID-19 testing, DESE and DPH have gathered robust data about the prevalence of COVID-19 in schools that clearly illustrates schools are safe environments for teaching and learning. Schools are one of the few types of settings in the state where individuals are tested on a regular basis.

Data collected over the past few months from the Test and Stay program is compelling around what it reveals about school safety. Students and staff individually identified as asymptomatic close contacts and repeatedly tested in school through Test and Stay test negative more than 90 percent of the time. As of January 9, 503,312 Test and Stay tests had been conducted; 496,440 of them were negative (almost 99 percent).
 
“During the past two years, the impact of COVID-19 on children has caused a strain on their mental health, emotional well-being and academic success. We are relieved to now be in a place where we can provide young people additional relief from COVID-19 restrictions so they can continue to return to normalcy in the classroom,” said Commissioner Riley.
 
Masking continues to be required on all school buses, per federal order.
 
In August, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave the commissioner the authority to require masks for public school staff and students (ages 5 and above) in all grades through at least October 1, 2021. The commissioner used his authority to extend the requirement three times.   

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