Gov. Lamont announces masks mandatory for students K-12 statewide

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH/AP) – Governor Ned Lamont announced on Tuesday that masks will be mandatory for all students in grades kindergarten through 12 statewide.

Lamont said Tuesday during a press conference that the mask mandate will start at the beginning of the school year.

He hopes that it will only last the first month or two but says they will monitor the numbers.

“My message for local school districts is, this is the rule. This is going to be a statewide mask mandate for all students K through 12. I don’t want a lot of ambiguity there,” Lamont said.

Connecticut’s school year is set to begin around the end of the month. There are 206 school districts across the state, and many of them have already required masks for their school community.

“Given where we are, given what the spread is right now, given the success of the masks last year when the pandemic was a lot worse than it is today,” Lamont said.

RELATED: Gov. Lamont, CIAC encourages high school student-athletes to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Vainniko Schane and his fellow student-athletes say they have no problem masking up, and they say getting vaccinated was the right thing to do for their school community. But students tell News 8 it’s not the kids who need convincing.

“It’s definitely most of the parents that do not want to get it, so the kids have a fear of standing up to their parents and asking for the vaccine because most definitely, they are going to say ‘no,'” said Wendy Garcia, a New Britain High School senior.

For now, state officials are hoping student-athletes will set an example to get as close to normal, both on the field and in the classroom.

“Vaccination of all eligible athletes, coaches, and officials is currently the most important mitigation strategy we have available to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks within our school communities,” said Charlene Russell-Tucker, Acting Commissioner of Education.

State officials say less than half of the state’s 12-15 year-olds are vaccinated against COVID.

RELATED: Governor Lamont urges ‘common sense’, not mask mandates

Gov. Lamont’s executive order requiring masks in schools is set to expire with the rest of his special executive powers on Sept. 30.

But Martin Looney, the Democratic president pro tempore of the state Senate, says lawmakers will meet next month to decide whether to extend those executive powers, possibly until the start of the next legislative session in February.

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