Photo: Belmont schools are suggesting students consider wearing masks as Covid cases surge
The Belmont school district is suggesting students consider going back to wearing masks as the number of positive Covid-19 cases in the schools, town and county have spiked in the past two months.
“We are not mandating but simply recommending this added layer of protection,” said Belmont Superintendent John Phelan in an email to the school community dated Monday, May 9.
Phelan said that since the April break, the district has ”seen an increase in cases and this is most likely due to the contagiousness of the Omicron variant, as well as, increased social gatherings and travel.”
The surge of local cases has resulted in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to raise the Covid-19 Community Level for all of Middlesex County to the “high” level on May 5.
In Belmont, the number of new weekly positive cases in schools reached 93 as of May 4, a significant increase from previous weeks, shadowing the jump in the general population as the state reported 165 positive cases in the past two weeks. Using the Average Daily Incidence Per 100,000 people, 14 day period measurement, Belmont has gone from a low of 6.8 incidences on March 4 to 43 on May 4.
“We continue to work closely with the Belmont Health Department to monitor cases and keep our students and staff safer. We ask for your continued support in this effort, particularly at times like this when we experience increasing cases,” said Phelan.
Noting that many of the past mitigation measures Belmont and its schools had implemented since March 2020 have been lifted – the town’s mask requirement was ended in the first week of March 2022 – Phelan asked parents and students ”consider” mask wearing as an extra layers of protection and when symptoms are present and antigen tests remain negative.