4118.237/4218.237/5141.1 - Face Masks Coverings


Policy 4118.237/4218.237/5141.8 

Personnel Certified/Non-Certified

Students

Face Masks/Coverings

The Newtown Board of Education (the “Board”) recognizes the importance of protecting the health and safety of students, staff, and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, and in accordance with requirements and guidelines issued by the Connecticut State Department of Education (“SDE”), the Board requires that all individuals entering a school building, a Newtown Public Schools (“District”) facility, or a District transportation vehicle wear an appropriate face covering. An appropriate face covering shall consist of a cloth mask or disposable procedure-style mask that completely covers the individual’s nose and mouth. Any individual who presents for entrance into a school building, District facility or District transportation vehicle who is not wearing an appropriate face covering shall be provided an appropriate face covering by the District.

Compliance with this policy shall be mandatory for all individuals while in a school building, District facility and/or District transportation vehicle, unless an applicable exception applies. Any individual who refuses to wear an appropriate face covering at all times while in a school building, District facility or District transportation vehicle shall be denied admission and/or required to leave the premises, unless an applicable exception applies. In addition, failure to comply with this policy may lead to disciplinary action for students and staff, and exclusion from school property for members of the community, in accordance with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and/or Board policies.

All individuals participating in or attending any school-sponsored activities must wear an appropriate face covering, whether or not those activities occur in a school building, District facility or District transportation vehicle, unless an applicable exception applies or the Administration, in consultation with the local health department, determines that face coverings are not required certain activities and athletics.

The Board authorizes the Superintendent or designee to develop administrative regulations and/or protocols to implement this policy. Such administrative regulations and/or protocols shall outline authorized exceptions to the requirement that all individuals wear an appropriate face covering in the school buildings, District facilities and District transportation vehicles and may identify additional face covering rules as related to the safe operation of the school community.


Legal References:
Connecticut General Statutes § 10-221
Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together, Connecticut State Department of Education, as amended by Addendums 1-11 (June 29, 2020 through August 31, 2020).
         

Adopted: November 17. 2020
Newtown Public Schools

R4118.237(a)
4218.237
5141.8

Personnel Certified/Non-Certified

Students

Face Masks/Coverings

In accordance with requirements and guidelines issued by the Connecticut State Department of Education (“SDE”), the Newtown Public Schools (“District”) requires that all individuals entering a school building, a District facility, or a District transportation vehicle wear an appropriate face covering. An appropriate face covering shall consist of a cloth mask or disposable procedure-style mask that completely covers the individual’s nose and mouth. Any individual who presents for entrance into a school building, District facility or District transportation vehicle who is not wearing an appropriate face covering shall be provided an appropriate face covering by the District.

Compliance with these protocols shall be mandatory for all individuals while in a school building, District facility and/or District transportation vehicle, unless an applicable exception applies. Any individual who refuses to wear an appropriate face covering at all times while in a school building, District facility or District transportation vehicle shall be denied admission and/or required to leave the premises, unless an applicable exception applies. In addition, failure to comply with these protocols may lead to disciplinary action for students and staff, and exclusion from school property for members of the community, in accordance with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and/or Board policies.

All individuals participating in or attending any school-sponsored activities must wear an appropriate face covering, whether or not those activities occur in a school building, District facility or District transportation vehicle, unless an applicable exception applies or the Administration, in consultation with the local health department, determines that face coverings are not required for certain activities and athletics.
?        Students and all individuals being transported on District transportation vehicles are required to wear appropriate face coverings (face coverings must be worn prior to boarding and while exiting the vehicle), in accordance with the District’s Transportation Protocols.  Please see below for additional procedures for face covering exemption requirements.
?        Students, staff and all individuals inside school buildings and District facilities are required to wear appropriate face coverings except if: (i) the individual cannot wear the face covering because the individual has difficulty breathing, is unconscious, or

R4118.237(b)
4218.237
5141.8
Personnel Certified/Non-Certified

Students

Face Masks/Coverings (continued)
incapacitated; (ii) the individual cannot remove the face covering without assistance; (iii) the individual has a documented medical reason making it unsafe to wear a mask; (iv) the student is in preschool; or (v) the individual has a disability that causes the individual to be unable to wear a face covering.
Important Note: The need for a medical exemption for the wearing of face coverings of the styles recommended for use in schools for source control is rare. Medical contraindications to the wearing of cloth or other similar loose fitting masks generally are limited to individuals suffering from severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) such as might be seen with cystic fibrosis, severe emphysema, heart failure, or significant facial burns that would cause extreme pain or interfere with the healing of a skin graft. These severe medical conditions will be rare in students or staff capable of presenting to the school for work or instruction (in most cases these individuals would not be able to move about freely without significant assistance). In addition, for anyone suffering from any of these underlying conditions, the strong recommendation would be for that person to remain at home and engage in fully virtual learning due to their risk of developing severe complications if they did become infected with COVID-19. Mild or intermittent respiratory or other common conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases, kidney disease, or other similar conditions generally are not considered contraindications to the wearing of loose-fitting face coverings.
?        Face coverings may only be removed within the school building for the following reasons: (i) eating/drinking; (ii) on school grounds with appropriate social distancing implemented; and (iii) educational or medical activities requiring removal of masks (speech and language, evaluations, etc.) ONLY under circumstances when the school has implemented appropriate and District-approved mitigating measures (such as gowns, face shields, additional social distancing, physical barriers for District employees and/or students).
?        If a student claims a medical or disability-related exemption from wearing a face covering, the District shall follow the Decision Tree - Face Covering Exemptions in these Protocols. If the District determines the request is based on medical need, the parent or guardian and the student’s treating physician must complete the Face Covering Exemption Request Form. If the District determines the request is based on disability (skill deficit), the District shall promptly convene a Planning and Placement Team (“PPT”) Meeting or Section 504 Team meeting as appropriate to discuss and consider necessary programming revisions, accommodations, modifications, etc. 

R4118.237(c)
4218.237
5141.8
Personnel Certified/Non-Certified

Students

Face Masks/Coverings (continued)
?        If a staff member claims a medical or disability-related exemption from wearing a face covering, the District shall comply with all applicable laws, rules, regulations, and requirements regarding the evaluation of, and response to, any such claim. 
?        Students shall be offered face covering breaks during the school day as determined appropriate by the Administration.  A face covering break consists of the student removing the face covering from the student’s own nose and mouth for a short period of time. School district personnel supervising students shall only permit a face covering break when individuals who are indoors or outdoors are a minimum of 6 feet apart whenever possible or other District approved mitigating measures (such as physical barriers) have been implemented. Additional protective measures would be implemented whenever possible, such measures include social distancing, physical barriers, increased ventilation, hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, and exclusion of ill individuals.  When practicable, school personnel supervising students shall schedule face covering breaks outdoors.


Decision-Making Tree - Face Covering Exemptions




 
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