Hull students have been wearing masks inside and out since they came back to school in September. A school committee meeting on the May 25 changed that, but only for high school students.
Specifically, students in grades 9-12 will no longer be required to wear face coverings when outside, but all other grades will.
The new Department of Elementary and Secondary Education standard says that students do not need to wear masks when outdoors, even when distancing isn’t possible.
“The DESE recommendation did say that students could be outside at recess and at physical education in all grades without face masks,” explained Superintendent Judy Kuehn at the meeting.
Kuehn said that the change to the school policy is that “a face covering that covers the nose and mouth must be worn by all individuals in school buildings, so we took out on school grounds.”
However, in Hull, “students in preschool through grade eight will continue to wear masks on school grounds, recess, enjoying outside activities.”
This decision differs from that of many, if not most, other towns in the Commonwealth. Indeed, even the surrounding towns – Hingham, Cohasset, and Scituate – do not require any students to wear masks outside.
Hull should follow the state guidance for all grades. COVID-19 transmissions outdoors have been proven to be extremely low, and the virus is very low-risk for students at that age.
A valid point made during the meeting was that wearing masks outside is a routine that could lead to problems if broken, but haven’t we praised how “adaptable” our kids are all year?
Yes, it’s almost the end of the school year. Yes, we should finish out strong – and safe. But seeing as how these students see each other outside without masks once they’re out of school, it feels almost futile to hold on to this measure.
Our country, and our state, is opening up again – Hull schools should too.