Lyndonville district not happy with new state requirement for mask wearing

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 April 2021 at 8:56 am

School has allowed students to not wear masks when spaced out 6 feet or more

LYNDONVILLE — The school district has had students for in-person classes five days a week throughout the school year. They haven’t been required to wear masks when at their desks, which are spaced apart 6 feet or more.

But new guidance from the State Department of Health on Friday requires masks to be worn at all times by students, except when they are eating. The state reduced the social distancing from 6 to 3 feet. The state also advised that partitions set up in many classrooms and on desks aren’t encouraged because they aren’t proven to be effective.

“Our Board of Education and I fully realize and appreciate that this new required regulation will not be well received by the majority of our community, as the survey results in the summer overwhelmingly supported reduced mask use,” Jason Smith, the district superintendent, wrote in a letter to the community on Tuesday.

Lyndonville will be shifting to a new mask policy on Friday, requiring the face coverings to be worn except at meals.

“I also question and am frustrated by the timing of such a new regulation at this point in the year, as our school has been and is fully committed to a safe, responsible, and reasonable reopening plan where we are providing in-person instruction five days per week,” Smith said. “All that being said, the Board and District are engaged in advocacy and lobbying efforts with local and state officials to address these concerns.”

Some of the board members want to take legal action against the state for requiring the mask policy in cases where social distancing is possible at 6 feet or more.