NORTH SMITHFIELD – The North Smithfield school district will no longer require students and teachers in public K-12 schools to wear face coverings starting on Friday, March 4.
Supt. Michael St. Jean announced the upcoming change in policy in a note to parents on Thursday, Feb. 10, noting that Gov. Dan McKee is expected to extend his executive order that requires masking in schools to that date.
“After that point, cities, towns, and school committees will be able to implement their own masking policies using updated recommendations that RIDOH and RIDE will provide,” St. Jean wrote. “This updated approach brings masking in line with other mitigation measures that schools implement based on recommendations from RIDOH and RIDE, such as testing, social distancing, and symptom screening.”
St. Jean noted that masking will still be recommended in North Smithfield schools, but no longer, “an overarching mandate.”
Masks, he noted, will still be required on school buses, in keeping with the federal mandate on transportation, and, “are also still recommended for immunocompromised individuals and for those who have either not completed their primary series of vaccinations or received their booster.”
The superintendent noted that masking may remain a necessity in certain, specific situations.
“We anticipate updated guidance regarding contact tracing, isolation, returning to school after infection, Monitor to Stay, and interscholastic athletics protocols,” St. Jean noted. “We will certainly pass along any updated information that we receive.”