Public Schools

Hartford Public Schools moves to ‘mask-optional’ policy Monday

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

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Student and staff COVID-19 cases have rapidly decreased in recent weeks, according to the district.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Hartford Public Schools is moving to a mask-optional policy on Monday.

When students, staff and visitors come to school, they’ll have the choice of whether they want to wear a mask or not.

Hartford Public Schools is joining most districts across Connecticut who have already made the transition.

RELATED: Hartford Public Schools to become mask-optional at the end of the month
3rd grader Paris Mullings, who goes to Sarah J. Rawson Elementary School in Hartford, is one student who will have the choice.

“I would prefer her not wearing the mask because sometimes I can’t breathe and masks and masks are fun, but I just want to get a break of masks at school,” she said.

7th grader Evan Witkowski, who goes to John Wallace Middle School in Newington, said he likes that kids can decide. Newington students haven’t had to wear masks for about a month, after the district transitioned to mask optional at the end of February.

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“I feel like it should be up to the kids more than it should be mandatory,” Witkowski said. “It was pretty hard for two years having to wear them, but I realize that it was necessary to keep our families safe.”

Hartford students will still have to follow other COVID protocols, as Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez outlined in her latest superintendent update.

“We will continue to practice other COVID-19 precautions including frequent hand-washing, social distancing when possible and we will continue to report our COVID-19 cases in our school communities,” she said.

The district said the number of student and staff COVID-19 cases have rapidly decreased in recent weeks.

RELATED: Airline CEOs urge President Biden to lift mask requirement on flights, in airports

Those who test positive for COVID-19 will still be required to isolate for at least 5 days, and they must be symptom-free before returning. They will also need to wear a mask for a short period of time.

The district is working on getting COVID rapid test kits to students and staff. 

They will also be holding vaccine clinics all week. For more information, click here.

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Mamie M. Arndt