Tonight at a meeting that saw a power failure and significant disruptions by protesters, the Tewksbury School Committee voted four to one to require all students and staff to wear masks when school resumes on Sept. 1, for the first 60 days, at which point the committee will revisit. That decision follows a recommendation from Superintendent Chris Malone, who offered that guidance based on direction from DESE, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other expert sources, and in light of an increasing number of COVID cases in Middlesex County.
Malone also addressed the assembled crowd, asking for understanding of the position the Committee found itself in.
“To put this down to a school committee is completely unfair, and I hope no matter what side of this argument, or maybe argument’s not the right word for it, but whatever position you take on this, please understand the five individuals here did not ask for this responsibility,” he said. “This was thrust upon them.”
Members Shannon Demos, Bridget Garabedian, Nicholas Parsons and John Stadtman voted to accept the Superintendent’s recommendation, while Chair Keith Sullivan voted no.
Sullivan ran a challenging meeting with professionalism, following the masking vote by handling additional business, including several open meeting violation complaints.
In positive news, the rate paid by Tewksbury to substitute teachers will be increased, with that funding provided by a grant.