Frontier School Committee approves face covering policy

  • Frontier Regional School in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The Frontier Regional School District School Committee approved a face covering policy last week for the coming school year.

Superintendent Darius Modestow explained to committee members that face coverings will be required of everyone in the Frontier school building. Acceptable face coverings should cover the nose and the mouth, and be made of two layers of breathable materials.

“Gaiter masks do not work. … Those ones we all bought in the beginning,” he said, referring to the lightweight, stretchy material worn over the nose and mouth and around the neck. Similarly, Modestow said, bandanas also won’t be acceptable.

Students are expected to bring their own face coverings, but the school can provide masks if needed. “If students show up without the proper mask, the school will provide not only the medical ones, we have ones the community members made,” Modestow said.

Violations of the policy will be handled between principals and the parent or guardian of the student.

“We’re setting up guidelines that are going to keep our building safe,” Modestow said. “Masks are about the safety of everyone else around you, and we’re going to enforce that.”

The policy also outlines procedures for students who find it challenging to wear masks, as well as how mask breaks will be implemented during the day. The policy requires that a student present a doctor’s note if he or she claims to have a medical condition that prevents him or her from safely wearing a mask.

Some School Committee members questioned the legality — based on the state’s policy for face coverings — of requiring a doctor’s note.

Modestow said Frontier’s policy aims to be more strict than the state’s policy; however, he said he would look into the question and report back if a re-vote is necessary.

“We can require students to wear shoes in the building; we can require students to wear shirts in the building,” Modestow said. “For this school year, we’re going to be requiring students to wear masks.”

The school committees of the Union 38 Regional School District for Sunderland, Deerfield, Whately and Conway are also expected to vote on the face covering policy.