Q&A With Amy Checkoway, Seeking Re-Election To The School Committee

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Amy Checkoway is running unopposed for a second three-year term on the Belmont School Committee where she is the current chair. Checkoway has been a senior project manager for nearly 20 years with the research consultancy Abt Associates and was active in her local PTO and school activities before running for public office in 2019. She matriculated at Brown (Public Policy and American Civilization) before earning her Masters in Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Q: You served during what everyone has said was the most trying time to be a school committee member. From making snap decisions on new procedures and ways of learning to what a segment of the residents/parents believed were harsh restrictions on in-school instruction and mask mandates. What was the most difficult decision that you made during the pandemic for you personally and do you have second thought about it?

A: One of many difficult decisions was to start the 2021-22 school year remotely. With hindsight, I have second thoughts about many decisions made during the pandemic and how we approached planning generally. The School Committee should have worked more closely with district leadership during the summer of 2021 to develop better and more agile hybrid plans. We were too reactive and there was too much waiting for guidance from above, and not enough proactive planning. We should have done a better job at communicating and partnering with parents/guardians. We also should have been more transparent about our decision-making processes and more open about the challenges that we were facing.

Q: How has living through the pandemic change the relationship of the school committee with the school administration and parents? Is it for the better? 

A: Living through the pandemic certainly intensified the relationships between all parties. We were all forced to interact in ways and about issues that we never had encountered before. I do not think that confidence and trust has been completely restored yet, as some relationships remain frayed. One thing that I hope we can hold onto and continue to improve is deeper family engagement and participation in School Committee meetings and district decision-making.    

Q: There continues to be tension with segments of the population and the schools. What would you do to “lower the heat” and bring a sense of collegiality for all sides.  

A: This will require a lot of listening, assuming positive intent, a willingness to compromise, making space for all sides to share their perspectives, and trying to see value in all suggestions, even if our immediate instinct is to disagree. Social media tends to “raise the heat” and be dominated by a small number of voices. Creating more opportunities for in-person interactions and two-way conversations with different segments of the population will be helpful.

Q: What are some of ideas/concerns/objectives will you personally advocate for during the next three years?

A: Some of my priorities include supporting more authentic family engagement; strategically managing the district’s budget and resources; using data to inform decision-making; working toward more equitable policies, practices, and outcomes; and holding leadership accountable for meeting the goals that the School Committee sets out.

Q: What do you enjoy about being a member of the school committee? 

A: I enjoy building relationships with and learning from other School Committee members, district staff, students, and parents. I enjoy when I can serve as a bridge between the school community and district administration. I enjoy when I can effectively facilitate and/or influence a discussion about how to better serve students. And I enjoy when I can answer a question or help a parent/guardian with an issue.

Q: What’s it like having a trombonist in the house?

A: Loud. And my other son is a percussionist!

Q&A With Jeff Liberty, Candidate For School Committee

Photo: Jeff Liberty

Jeff Liberty‘s background is an impressive collection of experiences in education. The Dorchester native has been classroom teacher, administrator, the inaugural leader of an in-district Boston charter school and currently works at an educational consultancy. He is running unopposed for the open seat on the Belmont School Committee. A 12 year resident of Worcester Street, Liberty matriculated at Brandeis University (History) and received his MFA in creative writing from Emerson.

Q: You have an unique background for school committee members being a multifaceted education careerist: You have been a teacher, administrator, charter school leader and now in education consultancy. How do you anticipate working and collaborating with your five fellow committee members who don’t have your practical experience in the field? 

A: I do have a lot of experience and I’m happy to share it with my fellow Committee Members and members of the BPS administration.  At the same time, all of the other Members bring tremendous skills and experience, including experience being on the School Committee and other elected offices, so I expect it should be very easy to collaborate with my colleagues on the Committee. I’m honored to serve with such a committed and intelligent group of humans and I expect to learn as much as I teach. 

Q: You have spoken about concerns you have as a parent and resident on how much students have “lost” educationally and emotionally during the pandemic. Is it possible for individual students to “recover” that gap in classroom learning and social emotional skills or should the district take a more holistic approach of moving grades forward with supports?

A: When it comes to foundational academic skills and human development/social-emotional skills, students must be supported to recover from lost opportunities to learn and grow.  Otherwise, we do not afford them the opportunity, as a generation, to achieve to their fullest potential. At the same time, the pandemic has shown us, in every facet of our lives, what is truly important. In that spirit, I don’t think it’s essential to obsess about going back and trying to “cover” every bit of content that was missed.  That ship has sailed.  The most important skills and content are the ones that are essential to student success at higher levels.  There should be an effort to quantify and communicate, both in the aggregate and at the individual student level, where we are in terms of meeting those benchmarks and what we will commit to do to support students who have not yet reached the grade-level standards of academic performance and/or social-emotional growth. The Committee and the public will need to hear from the Superintendent and his team soon about what we have learned about students’ progress and what resources and programs are being developed and put in place to help students to accelerate their learning and personal development before the start of the next school year.     

Q: Could you see anytime that you could support a return of mask mandates? Why or why not.

A: The pandemic has taught us that it is difficult to say for certain what the future holds.  If the Board of Health and the School Committee determine that, by metrics we can all agree to, that the continuation of in-person instruction requires all educators and students to wear masks for a period of time, I would be open to supporting that policy for a limited period and with very clear benchmarks for when mask-wearing would be made optional again.   

Q: You wrote a letter to the editor saying that you were angry – about who the school committee and district could not manage the system through COVID, how the town was unable to come up with a plan to manage the structural deficit and the pot holes on your street – but was still going to vote for the override. Are you still angry?

A: I would not describe myself as an angry person generally (I try not to be–life is too short!).  At the same time, it has been very challenging as an educator and as a parent to watch our town fumble our way through policies and processes that have had a detrimental effect on students and families.  That would make any reasonable person angry.  I continue to see some of the same behaviors and habits that manifested themselves during the worst days of the pandemic like a lack of data-based decision making and un-rigorous assessment of the efficacy of programs and initiatives.  This frustrates me but it also motivates me to make improvement in those areas a central focus of my work on the Committee in the years ahead.  We can and we must do better to regain the public’s full confidence in our schools.  

Q: The majority of what school committees does is deal with the everyday “mundane necessities” of a district: reviewing elementary school curriculum, professional development for teachers, hearing concerns of coaches that they are not being paid the same as their peers. What “mundane necessity” will you champion as a member of the committee and why is it important?

A: I don’t think any of the things you listed are mundane.  I do think we need to prioritize the work of the Committee so we stay focused on our most important statutory responsibilities–supervising and supporting the Superintendent, creating and revising policy, overseeing the budget and ensuring it aligns with educational priorities, negotiating contracts that are fair and sustainable, and approving the program of studies.  If we manage to do this–and to celebrate our successes along the way–nothing we do will be mundane.

Q: What will get you excited about coming to a school committee meeting on a cold and snowy Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.?

A: In the 12 years our family has lived in Belmont, I’ve met hundreds of wonderful young people and their parents and caregivers. I am highly motivated to bring purposeful, transparent, and ethical leadership to my work on the Committee on behalf of my fellow Belmontians, no matter what the weather might be.  To me, public schools are just about as sacred as secular institutions can be. When they are good, they are the best examples of excellent civic life and hope for our future that we have. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Teachers Marching From HS To School Admin Offices In Protest Over Contract Negotiations

Photo: The Belmont Education Association logo

Just past 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, teachers, staff and aides will head for the streets as the membership of the Belmont Education Association is set to march from Belmont High School, down Concord Avenue into Belmont Center and to the School Administration building next to Town Hall on Pleasant Street as the union calls for “fair agreements” in a contract that is currently being negotiated.

After returning almost $6 million to the town over the past two years, the school district is now offering educators annual cost of living adjustments that are, on average, less than 2 percent, even though educators’ real wages are lower now than they were eight years ago. The district is also trying to save a nominal amount of money by shifting greater healthcare costs onto new employees, those who can least afford it,” said a press release from the union.

The BEA release said the union is proposing annual raises of three-to-four percent over the next four years. Currently, the district’s counter offer is:

  • First year: 2 percent increase + $500
  • Second year: 1.5 percent
  • Third year: 1.75 percent
  • Fourth year: 1.5 percent

The BEA is also calling for what they term adequate wages for support professionals, “the district’s lowest paid and most undervalued educators who also happen to be the ones working with our most vulnerable students.”

Commuters should expect delays along Concord Avenue from the high school to Pleasant Street from 3:20 p.m.

Breaking: Butler Elementary Evacuated Due To Suspected Natural Gas; Students Relocated To Nearby St Lukes

Photo: The Butler school

The students of Daniel Butler Elementary School have been temporarily evacuated from the building located on White Street due to a suspected odor of natural gas in one of the school’s stairwells reported sometime before 8:30 a.m., Thursday, March 24.

The Belmont Fire Department is on scene, according to a social media message from the Boston Police Department. Due to the rain and cold temperatures, students are being taken by police to nearby St. Luke’s RC Church on Lexington Street.

National Grid which supplies gas to the town “will be arriving on scene shortly,” said police sources. Commuters will experience brief detours in the area.

Belmont Students Attending Minuteman Are Medal Winners in SkillsUSA Mass Comps

Photo: Belmont resident Laryssa Maia when she learned she was a top winner in the Culinary Arts category in the SkillsUSA Mass District Tech competition (Minuteman High School)

Seventeen Minutemen High School students – including three from Belmont – received medals in the SkillsUSA Massachusetts District Technical Competitions this month.

The award-winning Belmont students are:

Laryssa Maia won a gold medal in the Culinary Arts contest. Maia is a grade 10 Culinary Arts student. Amalia Findeis, a grade 11 Culinary Arts student, and Charles Pressey, a grade 10 student in Advanced Manufacturing, won silver medals respectively in Commercial Baking and in CNC Milling contests.

More than 370,000 vocational-technical students participate in SkillsUSA competitions nationwide annually. Students demonstrate their skills in their career technical areas of study, employability, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety guidelines. 

A total of 56 Minuteman students representing 13 career technical education majors competed. Of the 17 students who won medals, 6 received gold, 8 silver, and 3 bronze. The gold and silver medalists will continue onto compete at the States competition at Blackstone Valley Vocational Technical High School on April 29.

Letter To The Editor: Support Checkoway’s Re-Election To The School Committee

Photo: Amy Checkoway is running for re-election to the Belmont School Committee

To the editor:

I am thrilled to support Amy Checkoway in her re-election campaign for the Belmont School Committee this April.

Amy is committed to enabling every student to reach their full potential. She is doing so by staying committed to the goal of providing a normal school year for students in an environment that is safe for students and staff.

Amy works tirelessly to put the needs and well-being of all students first. This is evident from her support for funding programs and staff to support students’ educational, social, and emotional needs at all grade levels.
I have seen what a critically important role Amy has played as the School Committe Chair in the last year. Amy is thoughtful and empathetic when members of the community express concerns. She tackles challenging situations with professionalism. She bases decisions on data and reinstated a more robust evaluation process for holding the Superintendent and School Committee accountable.

Amy’s experience will be invaluable for the students of Belmont Public Schools in the years ahead. I hope you join me in voting for Amy Checkoway for Belmont School Committee.

Meg Moriarty

Garfield Road

Select Board, School Committee Votes Monday To End Town, Schools Mask Mandates After Teachers Union OKs Move

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After a final possible stumbling block was cleared Friday, it’s all but certain that nearly two years of mask mandates for public spaces and school venues in Belmont will end at midnight, Tuesday, March 8 as the three main town bodies responsible for the requirements will, in all likelihood, vote to vacate the measures.

“We are moving forward with the knowledge that the mask mandate will likely be ending on Tuesday,” said Belmont Superintendent John Phelan on Friday, March 4, during the “topping off” ceremony for the middle school section of the new Middle and High School.

Monday’s busy schedule will include:

  • The Board of Health has scheduled at 4:30 p.m. a review, discussion and “possible vote” on face covering mandate in town followed immediately by a similar vote on school mask requirements at 4:40 p.m.
  • The Belmont School Committee will then assemble for a special meeting to discuss any recommendation and then vote on its mask policy at 6 p.m.
  • Finally, the Select Board, in a joint meeting with the Board of Health at 7 p.m., will meet to vote on lifting the town’s mask mandate followed by a vote to reinstate in-person meetings for town boards, commissions and committees.

Belmont’s move to lift its mandates come as government health agencies and many states and municipalities across the country have removed their mask requirements as infection rates due to Covid have fallen while vaccination rates have steadily risen.

Under the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued on Friday, March 4, residents in counties where the community risk determined through a metrics including hospital capacity levels, new cases and hospitalizations is considered “low” residents can do away with masks. Middlesex county, where Belmont is located, is like 90 percent of US counties which are classified as “low.”

This past week, Belmont has seen some of the lowest infection rates since the beginning of the coronavirus in March, 2020. In addition, residential vaccination rates are over 80 percent and 9 our of 10 students are vaccinated in the higher grades.

While Belmont will likely remove the mask mandates on Monday, the action is not coming as a surprise. In the first week of March, the Health Board began reviewing the data used to justify imposing the mask requirement with both the school committee and select board expressing confidence the mandate would be removed.

In fact, the Health Board had called for an “emergency” meeting on Monday Feb. 28 – the day Gov. Baker’s ended the state requirement for masks in school – take a vote on the mandate’s future. But just as quickly as the notice was posted, the meeting was cancelled as it was determined by town officials not to have met the criteria for an “emergency” and thus would violate the state’s 48-hour notice requirement for government meetings.

As the town was moving towards a vote, the school district began working with the Belmont Education Association to prepare for a future mask transition as required by a joint Memorandum of Agreement on Covid-19 protection measure with the existing contract.

After meeting with the School Committee and representatives of the school district on Wednesday, March 2, BEA members two days later approved in near unanimity – there was a single ‘no’ of the more than 70 Unit A members voting – to accept the MOA change. Under the new agreement, educators will not be punished for continuing to wear a mask or seek to keep a safe distance between them and students to lessen possible infection.

Belmont High Hockey Throws Off Natick, 3-0, In First Round of Div. 1 State Playoffs

Photo: Belmont High senior Matt Rowen scores the game’s first goal off a Tim Cushing rebound as Belmont defeated Natick, 3-0, in the first round of the MIAA Div. 1 state hockey championship Friday, March 4

The 800 fans who stuffed themselves into the ancient forum known as “The Skip” Friday night, March 4, had the opportunity to witness the quintessential “Belmont” game played by the High School Boys Ice Hockey during the successful 2021-22 season.

In its 3-0 home shutout over Natick High in the first round of 32 in the MIAA Division 1 state tournament, the Marauders demonstrated the three elements that produced a 17-1-3 record: solid goaltending from senior Ryan Griffin, a defensive scheme based on frustrating and tiring opponents with an attack that can strike anywhere inside the blue line.

A physical game, for sure.

“We’ve established this year an identity and that we’re a defensive team that strikes when the opportunity presents itself and that we did tonight,” said first-year head coach Tim Foley.

Belmont set the tone of the game scoring within the first two minutes of the puck being dropped when four Red Hawk skaters playing a high line defense lost senior forward Matty Rowen who drifted behind them and lifted an in-close rebound by Natick senior goalie Tim Cushing with 13:03 on clock.

“It’s always important in the playoffs to strike first, you don’t want to be playing from behind and trying to catch up to the team,” said Foley. “You’ve got to get out in front, you got to make that push early on.”

For the remainder of the first, Belmont’s defense – which has surrendered a mere 24 goals in 22 games – took the play from the Red Hawks by thawing its attempts to establish any cohesive tactics by forcing Natick to fight for the puck along the boards while blocking the rare centering passes.

Belmont High’s Joe Gaziano (left) covers Natick’s top goal scorer freshman Sam Hubbard as Belmont’s Ryan Griffin guards the net during a second period Natick power play. Host Belmont defeated Natick, 3-0, in the first round of the MIAA Div. 1 playoffs.

While Friday demonstrated Belmont’s three tier team approach to victory, sophomore forward Matt Pomer was a presence on all corners of the rink. On several occasions in the second and third period he was a handful for Red Hawk defenders around the net, nearly scoring on a solo rush from behind the net. On the first penalty kill, he out-muscled Natick’s leading scorer Matt Haskell and striped the puck early in the second period.

“Mattie is a very good player who is very steady and plays hard,” said Foley of his second line forward. “We knew that Natick was going to come with a physical plan and that’s Mattie Pomer’s game. He loves the physical part of the game, taking pucks away from people, hitting players with his shoulders down. He was in his office today.”

Belmont was at its strongest midway through the second as they squeezed the Red Hawks into their zone which produced Belmont second tally. With junior Shay Donahue screening Cushing, Fici deftly slotted the puck from his favorite left side circle into the back of the net to double Belmont’s advantage with 3:15 remaining. The goal was Fici’s 35th of the extended season.

“I told the team they have to get the pucks in deep, get pressure on the other team and that will get pucks to the net and hopefully in the net,” said Foley.

The Red Hawks entered the final 15 minutes on the front foot to get back into the match but Griffin held the fort as the Marauders’ defensive stalwarts – first pair of juniors Joe Gaziano and Peter Grace along with fellow junior Theo Martin, sophomores Adrien Gurung and Ryan Holloran, junior Henry Melanson and senior John Whouley – shut the door on any comeback.

A late interference call against the Marauders allowed Natick to pull Cushing with two-and-a- half minutes remaining, but the resulting two man advantaged could only produced a pair of long-range shots against Griffin. Down a man, Belmont sealed the victory when Grace picked up a loose puck and “waltzed” to the blue line to fill the empty net before falling on his back while attempting a rare goal celebration.

Belmont (18-1-3) will host 10th-ranked Marshfield High (which took down Lincoln/Sudbury Regional, 2-0, on a pair of goals in the final four minutes. Time and date to come.

“I know [Marshfield] … and they play hard, they play physical and they’re going to be tough to play against. But we have to rely on our attributes and our abilities and we’ll execute our game plan and hopefully, have another win,” said Foley.

Tickets On Sale For ‘The SpongeBob Musical,’ Performances March 17-19

Photo: The colorful poster for

Tickets are on sale beginning on March 1 for the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company production of “The SpongeBob Musical” based on the series by Stephen Hillenburg.

Performances take place on Thursday and Friday, March 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 19 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Belmont High School Theater.

TICKETS: ADULTS: $15 CHILDREN/STUDENTS: $10 ($5 tickets for Belmont High School students on Thursday and Saturday Matinee) Tickets on sale at bhs-pac.org starting March 1.

Ticketing for shows will be only online, and advance purchase of tickets is strongly encouraged, as all performances are expected to sell out.

Based on the Nickelodeoon Cartoon, The Spongebob Musical is a fun-filled adventure about an unlikely hero trying to save his underwater home from being destroyed. Featuring the iconic character from the TV show and songs written by a long list of pop, rock, and musical theater stars, The Spongebob Musical is entertainment for audiences of all ages as well as an allegory about climate change, accepting differences and the importance of friendship and community.

The cast of 45 students showcase their physical and vocal acting skills, taking on the roles of many of the well-known characters from the show as well as an ensemble of undersea characters including a rock trio of electric eels, tap dancing anemones, cult-worshiping sardines, down-on-their-luck pirates and more.

The technical elements of the show will show off the new theater. The set crew has built a coral reef to serve as a backdrop, in addition to Spongebob’s iconic pineapple home, a rock that transforms into a hot tub and more.

Our costumes crew has created a colorful array of costumes that use a 70’s disco-inspired style to evoke the colors and feel of a tropical aquarium. The props crew is building a number of unique items including a jetpack, scientific machines and more. The sound and lighting crews will get to take advantage of state-of-the-art technology in the new building, creating visual and audio effects to transform the theater into an underwater paradise.

WHO IS THE SHOW APPROPRIATE FOR:
The Spongebob Musical is appropriate for all ages. The witty humor, catchy tunes and engaging story will also keep adults entertained and those who have seen the TV will know that the characters and visual elements are fun for children of all ages.

COVID PROTOCOL INFORMATION:

At the present moment, current protocols require audience members attending events at Belmont High School to be masked in the lobby theaters and bathrooms. There will be a designated eating area in the cafeteria where concessions can be consumed unmasked at intermission.

Some performers will be unmasked on stage; all performers are fully vaccinated. There is a possibility that the town/school policies may change prior to the performance dates. Audience members should check the PAC Website for up-to-date information about Covid/mask policies prior to attending the show. Anyone experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 should not attend performances. You can reference the Boston Public School Symptom Checker here.

Anti-Mask Mandate Protest At School Dept Monday – Will Students Show Up To Schools UnCovered?

Photo: the Change.org petition on ending the Belmont schools mask mandate

At the final Belmont School Committee meeting before the February vacation break, Brian Brady directed a provocative hypothetical to School Superintendent John Phelan and the committee.

”I’m curious … what would occur if students came to school on February 28 without masks?” asked the father of three, then pointing to a decision by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Feb. 9 to end mask mandates in schools on the last day of the month.

Brady continued tossing “what-if” scenarios at Phelan including what the town’s “remedies” would be for those “children who simply chose to go to school without … a mask on.”

A few minutes later, Patrick Whittemore would echo Brady’s interest in the causality of not wearing masks.

”I want to kind of double down on Brian’s question,” said Whittemore, who has been a regular participant at committee meetings advocating against the wearing of masks. “If kids show up on February 28 without masks on, what actions, if any, will the school department take?”

[Phelan would not provide details of a schools response to the two, seemingly prepared for the question by recognizing “that this has been a hard two years and … [going to school with a mask] is a common goal that everyone has in doing so in a safe way” and the community should continue to show “some patience” until that can be done.]

While similar queries from a pair of parents could be serendipity, the questions of the likely reaction by school principals on coverless students could also announce a specific challenge to the district’s mask directive by a determined group in town. While on-line parent boards and Facebook pages have been quiet on taking direct action protests on school property, the question remains whether some believe a demonstration would be a viable act to commit.

While not contacted to questions directed to Whittemore, Brady contacted the Belmontonian to clarify his public statement.

“Absolutely not,” Brady said on facilitating a mask protest. “The notion that I am part of protest movement that encourages anyone, especially school children, to break to law, is deeply offensive. It’s also pretty dumb.”

“I would only endorse removal of masks for children in schools after it is approved by the [Board of Health] and [School Committee],” he said.

“I called school committee last night because I wanted to,” said Brady. “My questions were actually pretty simple.”

While eastern Massachusetts has been spared the aggressive confrontations seen in other parts of the country, protests are occurring. On Feb. 18, a Boston Globe article (Boston Public Library children’s rooms targeted by group opposing mask requirements, staff say)focused on maskless families encamping in Children’s Room at branches of the Boston Public Library, refusing to comply with the city’s indoor mask mandate. The scofflaws confronted librarians while making videos of the confrontation with staff and eventually police.

Since the beginning of the year, a growing number of Belmont parents have been questioning the need of mask and other protections to the Covid-19 virus. The call for the end of requirements are varied and long standing: masks are ineffective, they are the cause of mental health issues, they escalate learning loss especially among early learners and others.

Those parents have seen their positions bolstered by actions by state and local governments and by the federal health. On Friday, Feb. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance in which healthy people can go maskless if they live in a county with low rates of infection and their hospitals are not overwhelmed with Covid patients. And Middlesex county rates a low risk in those measures.

While anti-mask parents are pointing to the changing mask landscape, Belmont – which under state law has final say on health policy – isn’t eager to deviate from the course it has set for more than two years. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, 2020, the town and schools have given the Board of Health and the Heath Department ultimate leeway in dictating the direction the town would keep its residents safe and healthy, including mandating masks for indoor spaces and schools.

While residents have debated and argued with officials on aspects of health issues – two candidates were elected to the school committee in April 2021 to advocate, in part, for in-school instruction – the Health Board’s policies have been followed with little real opposition.

While a possible Monday protest by students and parents at schools is, at best, speculative, one set of parents has announced its intention to face up to school officials and call for the end of masking in Belmont.

Led by Antonio Molle, the ad hoc body dubbed Belmont MA Against Mandates will be knocking on the door of the School Administration Building on Pleasant Street at 3 p.m., Monday, Feb. 28 to deliver a physical copy of a Change.org petition – currently signed by 264 residents – which “demands” the immediately lifting of “the mask mandate for ALL Belmont Public School students, staff, visitors.”

“The group of Belmont residents is handing in the petition in light of the School Committee’s recent delay in the unmasking of Belmont public school students,” stated Molle, who has recently been a frequent participant at Zoom meetings advocating anti-mask positions, including calling for the Select Board not to impose a Covid passport in Belmont, which the board found to be a bit of a head scratcher as no board member or residents has ever advocated for it in the Town of Homes.

And as the group arrives at the school administration’s door, town and school officials are preparing to discuss and likely vote on continuing the indoor mask requirement. In early February, the Board of Health discussed creating a new data rubric for ending the mandate relying on CDC guidelines.

“Mandates are not going on forever,” said Health Board Chair Donna David at the February meeting. The board voted to meet on March 7 to take a likely vote on a recommendation whether to end the requirement or continue the mandate. And the next day, Tuesday, March 8, the School Committee will discuss the guidance and possible vote on the measure, said Amy Checkoway, chair of the school committee.