FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Board of Health is expected to vote to rescind the mask mandate in the City of Framingham next week, but the indoor mask mandate will not be lifted until the first week of March.
At the request of Mayor Charlie Sisitsky, a special meeting of the Framingham Board of Health has been posted for February 22, 2022, to discuss the duration of the current Joint Executive Order mandating masks inside public establishments and to potentially vote on a date to rescind the Order.
Both the Mayor, and the 2-member Board of Health vote to establish a mask mandate in indoor public places in the City of Framingham in January, effective January 19.
The Framingham Board of Health was increased to a 5-member Board by signature of the Governor in December 2021, but has the authority with two members to act, until the mayor appoints 3 new members. (Mayor is expected to nominate 3 new members later this month).
At the Special Meeting, which is open to the public via zoom, the Board may consider the draft of
a new Joint Executive Order, which calls for rescinding the current mask mandates for indoor
public spaces and municipal buildings effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 7, 2022.
The posting and agenda can be viewed here.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education has called for the mask mandate in schools to be lifted on Monday, February 28, following the traditional February school vacation week in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Several school districts, including neighboring Ashland has opted to make masks optional in the schools a week after the end of the school vacation week.
The Mayor’s request comes after weeks of continuous conversation and collaboration between
Mayor Sisitsky, Superintendent of Schools Bob Tremblay, and Department of Public Health
Director Alexandra DePalo, said a press release.
Included in those conversations has been such factors as the changing mandates and guidelines
emanating from Governor Baker and his Department of Elementary and Secondary Education;
the difficulty tracking cases given the many thousands of unreported Rapid Antigen tests; input
from residents, businesses, and teachers; and the spikes in COVID-19 cases that have historically
occurred after school vacation breaks, said the press release.
Framingham schools – public and private – saw a rise in cases following Halloween, and other spike in cases after Thanksgiving break, and a huge spike in cases following the Christmas holiday break.
Framingham Superintendent of Schools Bob Tremblay has the authority to decide when a mask advisory is in place, unlike in neighboring Ashland, where the School Committee has the final say.
Tremblay told SOURCE, the 9-member elected School Committee gave him the authority to decide if masks are required, or masks are optional, or no masks are required back in May 2021.
In some school districts, the issue of masks were negotiated via a teacher’s unit contract. That is not the case in Framingham.
In some school districts, the School Committee has the final say, but again that is not the case in Framingham Public Schools.