Watch Now: Hopkinton School Committee Implements Temporary Mask-Optional Policy in Schools

By Tom Nappi, News Director

The Hopkinton School committee voted 3 to 2 in favor of a mask-optional policy in schools. The policy will be on a trial basis from November 1st until November 19th. The 19 day trial period will be for gathering data such as breakthrough cases and tracking greater absenteeism because of COVID-19 like symptoms per School Superintendent, Dr. Carol Cavanaugh's recommendation.

Also part of the amendment, "a return to universal masking on Monday, November 22nd, in anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday." If there is a sharp rise in cases, the School Committee will conduct an emergency meeting to reassess the situation. Dr Cavanaugh stated: "It is highly unlikely that we are going to see better vaccination rates than we have now."

Some of the data presented during the discussion from Dr. Cavanaugh in coordination with Health Director, Shaun McAuliffe included:

-82% OF Hopkinton residents are fully vaccinated in Hopkinton including more than 95% between the ages of 12 and 19.

-Covid-19 Cases per age group: 0 to 4 years of age Children had 18 cases of COVID total, 5 to 11 years of age had 34 cases, 16 to 19 years of age had 6 cases.

-Only 2 cases of COVID-19 at Hopkinton High School (both breakthrough).

-October 15th through 21st - 3 cases of COVID-19 in date range.

-Results from a Student Council survey: 68% of students prefer optional masking, 28% prefer masking.

-Health Director, Shaun McAuliffe would prefer to postpone off-ramping at this time.

-Community rate up from 1.34 to 2.21.

-Only school medical personnel are allowed to know vaccination status. "There will be great difficulty in monitoring the students who are vaccinated and unvaccinated. Vaccinated students cannot be shared with faculty."

School Committee Voted 3 to 2 on amended article, view video segment below.