Cranston opts to require face masks in schools this year

School Updates

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Students, faculty and staff in Cranston will be required to wear face masks in school this year.

The Cranston School Committee voted unanimously during Monday night’s meeting to amend the upcoming school year’s policy to require everyone, no matter their vaccination status, wear a mask while inside district facilities.

The decision comes amid a nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases among children and young adults, as well as the continued spread of the highly-contagious delta variant.

Gov. Dan McKee previously said he will not be issuing a statewide mask mandate in schools and is instead leaving it up to the districts.

While he’s not issuing a statewide mandate, McKee said he fully expects school districts to follow recommendations put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Committee member Michael Traficante admitted he was disappointed by McKee’s decision, claiming that he’s taking the pressure off himself by placing it on school committees across the state.

“This should not have been left up to any school committees in Rhode Island,” he said. “We aren’t scientists.”

While Traficante wishes the decision wasn’t left up to the districts, parents like Maddalena Cirignotta are frustrated that the choice has been taken away from them.

“I believe the government should have never taken it out of the hands of the parents in first place,” Cirignotta said. “It belongs to parents … not the school committee or the government.”

Other parents, like Jen Manzi, are supportive of the mask mandate.

“It’s a hardcore variant and we need to be paying more attention to it,” she said. “I have a 4th grader who can’t be vaccinated yet and that has me concerned.”

The committee acknowledged that not everyone would be happy with their decision, but reassured parents they were doing what they thought was best for the district.

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