Waterbury requiring mask-wearing in schools for 2021-22

Coronavirus

FILE – A student wears a face mask while doing work at his desk at the Post Road Elementary School, in White Plains, N.Y., in this Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, file photo. U.S. health officials say the highly contagious delta version of the coronavirus is behind changes to mask guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week announced that fully vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors if they live in areas where the virus is surging. CDC officials said new information about the spread of the delta variant forced them to reverse course. The agency also said teachers and students everywhere should go back to wearing masks in schools. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, FIle)

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Waterbury has mandated mask-wearing in public schools for the 2021-22 year to guard against the coronavirus as state officials consider extending a statewide school mask requirement past September.

City officials recently announced the mask requirement and said all students and staff will return for in-person learning on Aug. 30.

“We have some protocols in place, safety measures in place that we’re going to continue to honor,” said Superintendent of Schools Verna Ruffin.

Connecticut currently has a mask requirement for schools that runs through the end of September. Gov. Ned Lamont and education officials have not announced any plans to extend the school mask mandate. The Democratic governor said Monday that he hopes to give parents a couple weeks’ notice on whether masks will be required.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued new guidance recommending “universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.” The agency cited the risk of spread of the highly contagious delta variant, even among vaccinated people.

On Sunday, the state Department of Public Health issued a recommendation that people, both unvaccinated and vaccinated, wear face masks when they’re in an indoor public setting because of the growing number of cases.

Coronavirus infections have been increasing in Connecticut and elsewhere as the delta variant has become the dominant strain. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in the state has risen over the past two weeks from about 149 new cases per day on July 18 to 422 new cases per day on Aug. 1, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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