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Springfield teachers union president says members want masks to stay

A classroom.
Creative Commons
A classroom.

The head of the Springfield, Massachusetts, teachers union said members want masks in schools to stay in place. This comes as governors in several states announced plans to lift their mandates.

In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said he wants to end the statewide school mask requirement by the end of the month. He said local school districts should decide what to do after that.

"Each and every mayor, each and every superintendent can make that call for themselves," Lamont said Monday.

The governor of New Jersey has announced he's lifting the mask mandate for schools there next month. The requirement in Delaware schools will expire March 31.

Tracy Little-Sasanecki, president of the Springfield Education Association, said she's heard from teachers on the mask issue.

"Most of our members, anecdotally, don't want the masks lifted yet," she said.

Little-Sasanecki said the union will also continue to follow the guidance from Mayor Domenic Sarno and Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris.

COVID-19 case counts in the city have dropped significantly in the past month.

The mask mandate for most Massachusetts schools is in effect until February 28. The state education commissioner, Jeff Riley, could decide to extend it.

"It's anticipated, obviously, that at some point in the not-too-distant future, the commissioner will have more to say about that," Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday.

Baker said it has been the education department's practice to "put a marker out there" and then make a decision based on the data at that point.

"Obviously every state is different with respect to where they are on COVID and these issues generally," Baker said. "I do think the dates that both Delaware and New Jersey are talking about are pretty consistent with that February 28th date."

This story contains reporting from the State House News Service's Katie Lannan.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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