EBCFA: Face Coverings
The Falmouth Public Schools is committed to providing a safe environment as schools reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to public health experts, one of the best ways to stop the spread of coronavirus and to keep members of our school community safe is the use of face masks or face coverings. Therefore, with consideration of guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the district’s consulting physician, and the Falmouth Town Health Agent, the following requirements are in place until further notice.
A multi-layer face covering that securely covers the nose and mouth must be worn by all individuals in school buildings, on school grounds, and on school transportation, even when physical distancing is observed.
Individuals may be excused from the requirement for the following list of reasons, per CDC guidance, if the individual:
- has trouble breathing,
- is unconscious,
- in incapacitated, and/or
- cannot remove the mask or face covering without assistance.
Exceptions to this policy under certain circumstances, such as for students with medical, behavioral, or other challenges who are unable to wear masks, will only be granted by a physician’s completion of the Request for Face Mask Medical Exemption Form, which requires the physician’s signature to be considered complete. Parents/Guardians may not excuse their child from the face mask requirement.
Additionally, face masks or face coverings will not be required when appropriate physical distancing is enforced. Examples include during mask breaks, while eating or drinking, or during physical education classes.
A student’s mask or face covering is to be provided by the student’s family. Staff members are responsible for providing their own face coverings. However, the district will supply disposable face coverings for individuals who arrive at a building, or board school transportation, without one.
If students are in violation of this policy, the principal will first contact the parents/guardians to issue a warning and inform them that continued noncompliance will result in the student being transitioned from the school building for in-person learning to the remote learning model until such time as they can comply with the requirement or the requirement is lifted.
Violations of this policy by staff will be handled in the same manner as other violations of School Committee policy, procedures, administrative directives, and professional expectations. Because violation could endanger the health and safety of others, staff members failing to wear face coverings as required will be issued one written warning. Should a second violation occur, staff members will be subject to additional discipline up to dismissal.
When visitors are permitted in the school/district buildings, those in violation of this policy will be denied entry to the school/district facility.
This policy will remain in place until rescinded by the School Committee.
LEGAL REF.: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, COVID-19 Order No. 31 -
REFS.: Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Considerations for Wearing Masks -
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Reopening Guidelines - http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/
Commonwealth of Massachusetts – Mask Up MA! –
SOURCE: MASC – August 2020