Waitsfield rescinded its indoor mask rule this week, joining Warren and Fayston in ending requirements that people wear masks in indoor spaces to slow the spread of COVID-19.
That happened on March 14, the same day that the state of Vermont loosened most of its COVID-19 prevention measures and the same day that students and staff in the Harwood Unified Union School District dropped indoor mask requirements.
At the Waitsfield Select Board’s meeting this week, the board rescinded the indoor mask rule several days early based on new CDC guidelines which place Washington County in the moderate transmission category where indoor masking is no longer recommended.
Board chair Christine Sullivan explained the CDC guidelines and board member Jordan Gonda noted the change in state guidelines as well. Board member and vice chair Brian Shupe pointed out that Warren had let its mask rule expire last week and Fayston let its mask rule lapse last month.
“I recommend that we rescind it rather than wait the two days for it to expire,” Sullivan said, and the board concurred. The board will consider how to manage masking and access to town buildings at its next meeting.
NEW GUIDANCE IN HUUSD
The Harwood Unified Union School District issued new guidance this week as well. As of Monday, masks are no longer required on school buses after the CDC changed its public transit guidance. Keeping windows open on buses is encouraged. Masking is also no longer required during sports, band, chorus and other activities. Those who are symptomatic during the school day will be asked to mask before they leave or while they are assessed.
In terms of cases of COVID in schools, cases where people were in school while infectious will be reported weekly on Fridays and those who test positive are asked to continue updating the district on Fridays.
Within school buildings, libraries, cafeterias and gyms can now be used as designed. There are no restrictions related to field trips and no restrictions or mask requirements for sporting events. Students may again share materials in arts and other classes.
Schools will continue to provide rapid antigen tests for home testing.
The school guidance mirrors the state’s relaxed guidance which calls for people who test positive to isolate for five days even if fully vaccinated and with or without symptoms. For people who are close contacts of people who catch COVID quarantine is no longer re commended. Close contacts who are not vaccinated or up to date on vaccines should get tested around five days. Close contacts who develop symptoms are asked to get tested regardless of vaccine status.
The new state guidance does not apply to health care settings, long-term care facilities or other congregate settings.