School Committee “rolls the dice” on masks

The Block Island School Committee voted to end its mask mandate on March 11, with Nurse Liz Dyer telling the committee, “we have to roll the dice.” Governor Dan McKee’s executive order requiring masks in schools expires on March 4, which leaves the decision on masking up to each individual school district. March 11 is one week after the students return from winter break.
Dyer gave a brief update to the committee on the school’s covid experience to this point, telling the committee that 28 students and six staff members tested positive for covid this school year. Dyer pointed out that 16 of the 28 cases occurred in one week, which she described as feeling “like a bomb hit us.” She emphasized that the school had been lucky thus far, with no student requiring hospitalization.Dyer said the biggest barrier she sees currently is testing, as some parents still will not allow their child to be tested. While acknowledging the parents’ right to refuse testing for their child, Dyer asked people “to think outside of themselves.” Dyer said she felt confident in the vaccination rate in the school, with 97 of the 129 school children vaccinated (75 percent) and

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