Board Approves Masks for Bristol Borough District Schools
The Bristol Borough School Board of Directors approved its revised health and safety plan Thursday night unanimously, for school district children to wear mask while attending classes.
The vote, did not come without impassioned pleas during public comment section of the meeting. Prior to that, Superintendent Dr. Rose Minitti explained the what the school district officials have done in response to the pandemic since March of 2020 and the challenges, families, children and the board has faced from, closing, to going hybrid, to the news that school could fully open without masks.
When the mask mandate was removed “we were thrilled” but over the past few weeks changes at the federal, state and local levels have led to a reversal about mask wearing, she said, it has been recommended to the board to begin the school year with district students wearing masks, which she asked the board to reevaluate every time they meet, said Minitti.
She explained the mask wearing rational by saying, I really understand where you’re coming from if you don’t want your children wearing masks. If students are not wearing masks and they are three feet away and a child tests positive for covid-everyone around that child, would have to be quarentined every single class that they are in.
Continuing, the outgoing superintendent said our high school students move to five, six different classes plus lunch. daily. If we are wearing masks, and we are at three feet apart we would not have to consider those kids for also when it comes to contract tracing, which in turn means the health department will quarantine kids. Mask wearing will allow us the opportunity to stay open as long as possible and hopefully not have to close our doors and go fully virtual at all this year.
“And to me that’s what it comes down to. Having kids in school” she said.
Bristol Borough Resident Ginette Green, asked what if you don’t want your child to wear a mask in school, what are the alternatives? .
Minitti said the virtual Bridges Program in conjunction with the Bucks County Intermediate Unit is available and transfers back can be made on a semester by semester basis.
Mike H. who is against mask wearing and is employed as an EMS said, from all that he is read, masks have little if any benefit, also pointing out only eight members of the school district administration were on the dais wearing masks Thursday night.
“If our concern is truly keeping the kids safe, masks its been proven over and over don’t work” he asked the board how is it you’re going to enforce something that isn’t a mandate from the county?,” he asked.
School District Solicitor David Truelove said, There is federal funding contingent on following the mask mandate and we don’t want to be in a position of the district not to comply with it… the mandate “is not optional.”
The guidance changed at the county level, late Monday night, Truelove said adding Bristol Township is also moving in the same direction.
A second resident, asked why is the borough going with the mandate, when neighboring school districts such as a Bensalem, where its optional, won’t be adhering to the guidance for masks to be worn.
“If I were the solicitor, said Truelove, it would not be optional.”
Borough resident Aaron Antonelli who has three children who attend district schools and has been personally impacted by Coronavirus made am impassioned plea for masks, pointing to evidence he’s read, that masks inhibit transmission due to the blocking of “spittle” coming out of your mouth and contacting others.
“We do this for the good of common man. That’s all I’m asking” he said about wearing masks and getting vaccinated too.
“I think this demonstrates we are trying to be responsible as we can…I don’t think anyone of us up wants there children wearing masks,” said vice president John D’ Angelo.
At every monthly meeting, the health and safety plan will be on the agenda for review, said School Board President David Chichilitti .
Fans, ventilation, will be used in classrooms to also help stop the spread of Covid-19 and hand sanitizer will also be on hand for school children and administration to use/.
Masks will not be required for outdoor activities and students will be given 15 minute mask breaks during the school day.
Officials said 90 pct of the faculty and staff are vaccinated and we recommend that. The school district is not requiring teachers to be vaccinated at this time.
To read the revised and approved version of the August 26 Health and Safety Plan, please click here
To read a just posted letter from the school district to parents and guardians about the approved safety plan, pleas click here.
In other related school board news, administration officials approved the resignation of Nunzio DeMarchis as School Board Director, effective August 26th. Community members can apply to fill the position, which will end on December 31st 2021 by contacting Dr. Minitti by September 2, for consideration.
Board members noted they have are aware of two potential applicants as of last night. Neither person was identified.
Mary Jane Potena-Paglione was excused from last nights meeting.
Schools reopen on Wednesday, September 8. Click here for the school year calendar
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