Update About Masking in Salem Public Schools
Salem Public Schools Community,
At last night’s Salem School Committee meeting, the Committee voted to move to optional masking for kindergarten through grade 12 students beginning next week. On Monday, March 14th, masks in school buildings and on school transportation will be optional for students and staff in these grades. The masking requirement will remain for our pre-kindergarten students and staff at the Early Childhood Center and in the preschool classrooms at Horace Mann and Bates Schools. Additionally, masks will continue to be required in our health offices across the Salem Public Schools.
Over the past two years, the Salem community has come together in so many different ways to support the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19. We are grateful for the continued collaboration and flexibility of such a committed community. As we enter another period of transition, this is an important opportunity for our community to take a pause and thoughtfully plan for a transition that will support the needs of all students, families, and staff.
With the change in our mask policy, Salem Public Schools will support the choices made by families, students, and staff members on whether or not to wear a mask or face covering. Our school communities will be engaging in thoughtful conversations this week about the change in policy to ensure all students and staff feel safe and welcomed in classrooms.
Please take time to talk to your children about the importance of respecting and honoring the personal choices made by classmates and staff. This is an opportunity to model and to teach our students the important life skills of social awareness and responsible decision-making.
Additionally, we remind families that our staff will not be responsible for ensuring that students wear a mask when the policy becomes optional. While our staff will encourage every student to make individualized choices about mask-wearing, it is important that staff time be focused on providing our students with a strong learning experience for the remainder of the school year.
Masks (of multiple sizes) will continue to be provided at all times to any student or staff member. If your child is in need of quality masks, please communicate with their homeroom teacher or contact the main office at your child’s school.
Lastly, if your child is experiencing difficulties at any point during this transition time, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s school.
Thank you for continued partnership,
Stephen K. Zrike, Jr., Ed.D. Superintendent