Breaking News: Wilton Board of Education Adopts Mask Optional Policy


Joe Eustace

Wilton Board of Education members unanimously vote in favor of the mask optional policy.

After weeks of intense discussion and debate amongst Wilton parents, students, and school staff over the removal of CT school mask mandate to a new, mask-optional environment, the Wilton Board of Education has finally made a decision. 

On February 17th, 2022, the Wilton Board of Education meeting adjourned to move forward with a mask optional policy in the Wilton Public Schools. This policy will take effect on February 28th when students return from their week-long break. 

Although masks are optional for students from Kindergarten to 12th grade, the Board of Education recommends masks for Pre-Kindergarten students due to the lower rate of vaccination. Additionally, per federal guidelines, school buses will continue to require masking. 

The Board of Education revisited one of its goals from the fall of 2021, pledging to follow the guidelines of CT Commissioner of the Department of Public Health and Wilton Public Schools medical professionals throughout the year, as the Covid-19 system situation changes. 

The Board members noted frequent monitoring of daily case rates in the schools and all of Fairfield County, both of which have been consistently declining. With these factors in consideration plus the Covid situation on a larger scale, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health and WPS medical advisor endorses this movement forward.  

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Dr. Kevin Smith, the Superintendent of the Wilton Public Schools, cited vaccination and case rate metrics to support his recommendation of the mask optional plan. 

“97% of our staff is fully vaccinated,” Smith said. “As of February 17th, 93.7% of our 12-17 year olds have had two doses [of the vaccine], and 43.7% are boosted.”

Cases in the district have been on a consistent decline since vaccination rates have gone up.

“Our average daily case rate continues to decline,” Smith said. “In our schools, today we had no new cases and we’re reporting a total of ten since February 10th. We’re averaging about 1 to 2 cases a day.”

As students and staff transition towards a partially unmasked school, administration will continue to implement the following mitigation strategies: offer a supply of KN95 masks and at-home COVID tests, recommend COVID testing in cases of exposure, consider resuming contact tracing, maximize ventilation, and promote social distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette. Smith states that the Board will monitor statistics and data trends and adjust policies accordingly.

“I’d like to approve Dr. Smith’s recommendations to move to a mask optional policy starting February 28 for students K-12 and a recommended mask policy for students in pre-K. The rationale is based on scientific and medical guidance from our medical advisor examining vaccination rates, looking at case rates at the county, community, and school level, understanding that mitigation strategies will continue, that there will be planning and sensitivity around the issue of transition and messaging for students and teachers, and that all of this will be monitored and subject to modification based on DPH information,” said Deborah Low, Chairwoman of the Board.