Aug. 18, 2021 School Committee Special Meeting

Aug. 18, 2021 School Committee Special Meeting
Posted on 08/16/2021
Quincy Public Schools Logo


Quincy School Committee Special Meeting

Coddington Building
Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

Per Governor Baker’s order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A sec. 20, the public will not be allowed to physically access this School Committee meeting. Members of the Public can access the meeting live on QATV Channel 22 or at The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast and posted on the QPS website on Friday, August 20, 2021.

I. Open Forum - Mayor Koch
Open Forum items may be submitted to School Committee via email to: [email protected]. Please include your full name and mailing address as part of the email.

II. Discussion of School Committee Policy 10.11.3: Communicable Diseases/Face Coverings - Mayor Koch

III. Adjournment


Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – August 18, 2021

Special Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

Chairman Presiding

A meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at the Coddington Building. Superintendent Kevin Mulvey called the roll and present were Mayor Thomas P. Koch, School Committee Chair, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mrs. Courtney Perdios, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Vice Chair.

Also present were: Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, Ms. Rita Bailey, Mr. Michael Draicchio, Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Madeline Roy; Health Commissioner Marli Cassli; Ms. Laura Owens, School Committee Clerk.

Mayor Koch called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm and Superintendent Mulvey called the roll. School Committee proceeded with the first two items on the agenda but at 6:50 pm, School Committee was notified that the meeting was not being broadcast or livestreamed and went into recess.

At 7:00 pm Mayor Koch called the meeting back to order and restarted the meeting agenda so that the public would be able to fully access the meeting as required under the Open Meeting Law.

Superintendent Mulvey called the roll and all members were present.

School Committee observed a moment of silence for the men and women in the armed forces serving at home and overseas.


Open Forum Mayor Koch suggested waiving the reading of Open Forum letters, as 109 letters were received: 80 from staff and parents in favor of mask mandate; 18 from staff and parents in favor of an optional mask policy; 10 from parents in support of remote schooling; and 1 staff member in favor of a vaccine mandate.

Mrs. Perdios objected to waiving the reading of letters as School Committee has not had the option to read all of the letters prior to the meeting and because Open Forum is the means for the public to communicate directly with School Committee even if the Policy does not specify that the letters will be read aloud.

Mr. Gutro also opposes the waiver, parents and staff took the time to write the letters and in non-COVID times, if parents and staff were lined up, School Committee would have listened to them all.

Mayor Koch said that there is a mask policy currently in place in the Quincy Public Schools, spending hours reading the letters aloud will take away from the discussion of the important issues for the re-opening of school.

Mrs. Hubley supported waiving the reading of the letters, many were copied directly to School Committee member emails and School Committee members were provided with copies of the emails. Mrs. Hubley suggested that the letters be entered into the School Committee record by being posted on the website.

Mrs. Lebo agreed with waiving the reading, important to spend the time discussing the issues important to families rather than read all the letters.

Mr. Santoro supported waiving the reading.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to waive the reading of Open Forum letters for the August 18, 2021 Special School Committee, enter them into the School Committee record, and post them on the Quincy Public Schools website. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it 5-2. Mr. Gutro and Mrs. Perdios voted NO.


New Business

School Committee Policy 10.11.3 Communicable Diseases

Mayor Koch introduced Health Commissioner Marli Cassli, Assistant Superintendent Erin Perkins, and Health Services Coordinator Rita Bailey. Superintendent Mulvey introduced a presentation based on the latest Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) guidance released last Friday, August 13. Masks are recommended indoors for unvaccinated staff and students, are required on all school buses regardless of vaccination status, and are not required outdoors.

Ms. Perkins reviewed the DESE-supported testing options that will be deployed in Quincy Public Schools during the school year, the symptom checklist and quarantine procedures for symptomatic and asymptomatic exposures, including new definitions for close contacts. Parents and staff are required to submit new consent forms for the 2021-2022 school year COVID-19 testing program, which will include optional weekly pooled testing for unvaccinated students and staff, follow up testing for positive pools, and “test-and-stay” option for asymptomatic close contacts to positive COVID-19 cases. In order for close contacts within the classroom to be exempt from testing and quarantine protocols, they must be masked and three feet apart. Unmasked students and staff who have been within six feet of a positive person while indoors will need to follow testing and quarantine protocols. Students who need to quarantine as a result of exposure of positive test result will be able to stream instruction and be marked present.

Superintendent Mulvey said that even though the official position is that it is a local decision for students and staff to wear mask, the guidance around exposure and quarantine make a mask mandate the recommendation. All of our students will be attending school in person, so distancing will not be possible. Following all of the guidelines last year and with only 50% of students attending school in person, there was no in-school transmission. Superintendent Mulvey is concerned that without a mask mandate, there will be constant quarantine issues for large numbers of students.

Mrs. Lebo asked if the state will be reporting on the number of school-age children who test positive and Commisioner Cassli confirmed. Mrs. Lebo asked for confirmation that DESE is supporting the costs for testing and Ms. Perkins confirmed. Mrs. Lebo asked about distancing, Superintendent Mulvey said most classrooms but not all will be able to keep students three feet apart. Mrs. Lebo said a positive high school student who attends seven classes in one day could potentially expose a large number of students who would then be required to quarantine.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the Quincy Public Schools Summer programs. Superintendent Mulvey said that masks were optional and some staff and students chose to wear masks. There were no positive cases during the summer program in July.

Mr. Bregoli asked about the current positivity rate, Commissioner Cassli said this week it is 2.15% and has been rising since June. Mr. Bregoli asked about natural immunity for students and staff who were COVID-19 positive, Commissioner Cassli said this is medically accepted to be 90 days. Mr. Bregoli asked about the safety of vaccines for students, Commissioner Cassli said that the FDA, NIH, and the CDC have all approved the Pfizer vaccine for students ages 12 and above. Mr. Bregoli asked about the testing, the state support provides staffing to manage the testing. Mr. Bregoli asked about student temperature checks, Ms. Bailey said this was deemed not reliable as a determining factor so this was never implemented.

Mr. Gutro asked Superintendent Mulvey for clarification on the COVID-19 case statistics presented. Mr. Gutro asked to continue the school-based statistics being presented to School Committee. Mr. Gutro asked about cases per day, 13.2 cases per day on a two-week average, there is not a differentiation between original COVID-19 and Delta variant. Mr. Gutro asked about the vaccination data, our SNAP health system communicates with the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS) system and will be updated at the start of the school year. Mrs. Bailey said that staff member information is not part of SNAP database.

Mr. Gutro asked about communicating with parents about the quarantine and testing protocols for the new school year. Ms. Perkins said that there will be a virtual parent forum scheduled for next Thursday, August 26 at 5:00 pm. Information has been shared with principals and nurses and will be posted on the QPS website and social media.

Mr. Gutro asked about school bus transportation, there is no social distancing but masking is required and the windows should be open. A positive case will not cause quarantining because of these protocols. Mr. Gutro asked about the rapid antigen testing, this was used last spring as an individual follow up test for a positive pool test.

Mrs. Perdios asked about students changing classes, this will be resumed at Grades 4-12. Mrs. Perdios asked about the reliability of the rapid antigen tests, Ms. Perkins said the BinexNOW test is sometimes difficult to interpret. Mrs. Perdios asked about the viability of the 2nd sample, Ms. Perkins said the results of the pooled tests arrive in 24 hours and the lab will run the 2nd individual samples immediately for those in the positive pool. Mrs. Perdios asked about the confidence of the BinexNOW being able to identify all of the positive students. Ms. Perkins said the three layers of testing will assist with ensuring student and staff safety. Ms. Bailey agreed and noted that all students with symptoms were kept home.

Mrs. Perdios asked about streaming for quarantine/isolating students, how will teacher engagement work. Ms. Perkins said that this is likely to be different at various grade levels, high school students are more likely to be listening to the lecture and elementary students more interactive. Ms. Perkins agreed that by implementing a mask policy, we are going to lessen the number of students quarantining.

Ms. Perdios said that parents who are looking for masks to be optional sometimes mention difficulty hearing or understanding issues between students and staff. Ms. Perkins said that some teachers have adopted masks with clear panels and masks can be briefly removed for remedial assistance upon teacher direction. Ms. Perdios asked if there are long-term health effects from wearing a mask, Commissioner Cassli will follow up with the Department of Public Health.

Mr. Santoro asked about the impact on Athletics, the Patriot League Athletic Directors are meeting next Tuesday and there are potentially issues with Girls Volleyball as it is indoors.

Mrs. Hubley asked about the qualifications of the extra staff funded by DESE to assist with testing. Superintendent Mulvey said that the staff are qualified to do the tasks they are assigned to do. Ms. Bailey said that last spring, there were registered nurses and CNAs as well as technicians.

Mrs. Hubley asked about Kindergarten, Ms. Owens said the enrollment levels are consistent with previous years and the average class size will be around 20 students as it has been for the last few years.

Mr. Bregoli feels that politics are driving policy and is against mask wearing. Mr. Bregoli questioned the makeup of the DPH board and who is advising the MIAA and DESE. Mr. Bregoli asked about the importance of hospitalization statistics, Commissioner Cassli said that long-term effects of the COVID-19 virus is also a consideration.

Mrs. Lebo asked if the BinexNOW results are reported to DPH and Ms. Perkins confirmed that is a requirement of the testing consent. Mrs. Lebo said that students are resilient, adults have a harder time with masks. Mrs. Lebo feels the mask mandate is important to keeping students in school.

Mrs. Hubley asked Commissioner Cassli if there is an optimal time for mask wearing/scheduling mask breaks, maybe the American Association of Pediatrics can provide guidance.

Mrs. Perdios asked for recommendation on mask policy, Commissioner Cassli said that he has consulted with 30 local health departments, 17 have instituted and 8 have not yet decided but are leaning towards this and he agrees with the recommendation. Cases have grown from 20 in June to over 190 to date in August, adults and children (27 cases between the ages of 3-18). Ms. Bailey said that based on the guidance provided, in order to keep students in school as much as possible, masks should be mandated for the start of the school year. Ms. Perkins agreed with Ms. Bailey, the first priority is to keep students in school and the masks will prevent interruption as much as possible. Superintendent Mulvey agreed with Commissioner Cassli, Ms. Bailey, and Ms. Perkins, we have eliminated the ability to distance students because of full return to in-person learning. Ms. Perdios said that these are the people we have hired to make these recommendations, it is important to respect these opinion and so she supports the mask policy.

Mr. Gutro asked what the outcome of tonight’s meeting will be. Mayor Koch said that unless a motion is made to amend it, the current mask policy will remain in place.

Mr. Gutro asked for definition of metrics and a timeline to factor making a decision at a later date to revise the mask policy. Mr. Gutro noted that members of the public are skeptical about there being no in-school transmission. Superintendent Mulvey said that through contact tracing and review by the Health department there was no evidence of in-school transmission, multiple agencies and departments reviewed and concluded this for the 2020-21 school year and 2021 summer program. Superintendent Mulvey said that further guidance will be coming from DESE and the MDPH, DESE has been very responsive and we look forward to discussing this further at upcoming School Committee meetings.

Mrs. Lebo said that until the guidance on quarantining/isolation changes, there will be no change in the mask policy. Superintendent Mulvey agreed and said he assumes data on positivity and transmission rates will be factors in transitioning towards normal operations.

Mrs. Perdios asked about the QPS summer program operating with optional mask usage. Superintendent Mulvey said that DESE issued guidance for summer programming with masks recommended but not required and this was shared with staff and families. Summer program participation is voluntary by students and staff and appropriate social distancing was maintained.

Mayor Koch thanked the presenters and noted that he has changed his opinion and supports keeping the mask Policy in place based on the new DESE/MDPH guidance and the increase in cases. Mayor Koch is concerned about the burden of implementing an optional mask policy for our administrators and teachers. Mayor Koch noted that millions of dollars have been spent by the city to improve the ventilation systems in our school buildings and that the schools are well-stocked with supplies and masks. Mayor Koch is not supporting indoor mask mandates city-wide at this time, but will continue to monitor the data.



Mrs. Lebo made a motion to adjourn the Special School Committee meeting at 8:40 pm, seconded by Mr. Bregoli. On a voice vote, the ayes have it.

Table outlines letters submitted to School Committee, sorted by support for each issue.



QPS Parent QPS Staff
Mask Mandate 1 Kavita Mishra Maria Coughlin-Lok

2 Pratibha Chauhan Jesse Flaherty

3 Paresh Kashikar Edie Boynton

4 Naga Lakshmi Emily Gaeta

5 Gina Favata & Jon Gorey Michael Ellis

6 Christina Duncan Christopher Natalizia

7 Caitlin Edwards Gayle Carvalho

8 Manimekalai Viajaymunath Laura Sanchez

9 Jeannie Kain Diana Cavallo

10 Laura Moye Carol Ann Marx

11 Jeanne Lucas

12 Christine Starr

13 Paul Krystiniak

14 Tom Crean

15 Phoebe Chan

16 Silvia Casadio

17 Jennifer Chen

18 Carly & Paul Bridden

19 Kate Mulrane

20 Danielle Neal

21 Kathleen Groom-Nguyen

22 Adam Marquis

23 Michael Dennehey

24 Sharon Dennehey

25 Sarah Kane

26 Vicki Schow

27 Amy Herlihy

28 Steven Monstur

29 Grace Young-Jae

30 Dellece Gonzalez

31 Zoe Kazmierski

32 Alexis Veith

33 Sophia & David Bluestein

34 Heather McDuffus

35 Maggie McKee

36 Ashley Lynch-Mahoney

37 Lisa & David Eavarone

38 Stephanie Stechenfinger

39 David Shiga

40 Danielle & Hubert Lam

41 Gail Clark

42 Rajeshwari Natarajan

43 Morgan MacDougall

44 Dr. Jana Mulkern

45 Shivpreet Singh

46 Vanessa Edouard

47 Lauren Blair

48 Erin Brown

49 Cheryl Rodriguez

50 Tanya Sizemore

51 Liz Speakman

52 Leslie LaRocca

53 Laura Collins

54 Mirinda & Doug Cole

55 Kevin & Taryn Geary

56 Jenni & Eddie Torres

Melissa Glynn-Hyman & David Hyman

Kellie & Timothy Glynn Burke

Meaghan & Taylor Sturtevant

Maryellen & Karl Harris

Amy Bacchieri

57 Kimberly Allen & Tom Emswiler

58 Lindsey & Robert Buchholz

Dana & Paul Harkin

Jen & James Simon

Kiersten Sullivan & Stephanie Berman

59 John & Erin Moran

60 Sarah Belfort

61 Ruhina Amiritan-Fort

62 Kate Campbell

63 Carrie Peck

64 Romy Mowrey

65 Karen Chretian

66 Yang Chung

67 Sal & Tracy Darji

68 Amy Camargo

69 Dr. Huy Nguyen

70 Robert Perkins

IN SUPPORT OF: 1 Sharon Purcell-Haddad Erin Riley
Masks Optional 2 Kevin Haddad

3 Ella Farrell

4 Jessica Grundig

5 Molly Jacobs

6 Patti Lencki

7 Rachel Carroll

8 Sarah Mastrocola

9 Jenna Doyle

10 Kimberly Magaldi

11 Leigh Lucas Geary

12 Kara Bligh

13 Jesse & Annie Harding

14 John McDonald

15 Caroline Giordani

16 James Campbell

17 Liam Bligh

IN SUPPORT OF: 1 Deepikak Chivukula
Remote School 2 Swetha Todopoonori

3 Chetan Mistry

4 Alejandra Aragon & Christian Jacome

5 Subra Sahu

6 Benu Sen

7 Shanmugam Golla

8 Thirupath Embadi

9 Tousia Khan

10 Anand Rao

Jake Forrest
Vaccine Mandate



My name is Romy Mowrey, and I live in the Montclair Elementary School District.

I have read the previous notice about the upcoming plans for the coming school year 2021/2022, and I was very concerned about the “optional” mask wearing.

I have two kids in elementary school, and I am 100% convinced that my kids will not wear masks in class if only one child is not wearing theirs for some reason, and if the teachers cannot enforce it. Since none of the elementary kids are vaccinated, I find that a very high risk proposal especially given that the class rooms will be full capacity again, and the increasing rate of infections across MA and other states.

We are enforcing with our kids that it is important to wear their masks when around other people in large groups and indoors, and model that oursevles, but that makes no difference when the group mentality takes over, as we have seen in the summer camps already.

I feel very uncomfortable to have my children in class if masks are not mandatory.

Please reconsider!
Romy Mowrey


Dear School Committee,

I am writing today as a parent, and a daughter of someone who is immune compromised to ask that you, please impose a mask mandate in our schools. 

I am asking that you choose to value prevention and remove the pretense that this is a parental choice issue. How children feel about wearing masks at school depends on how their parents, teachers, and community leaders discuss the issue.    As leaders I am asking you to make the best choice for all our children, teachers and staff based on science and not your personal beliefs. 

I do think it is important to recognize that this is also an issue of being a good citizen.  Having our children wear masks is an opportunity to show empathy and concern for their fellow citizens and begin practicing how one cares about their community.   Please vote on the side of doing what is ethically and morally right to protect all of our citizens.

Kate Campbell


School Committee Members:

New strains of COVID, specifically the Delta variant, are far more contagious than previous strains.  The CDC has revised their recommendations to include indoor masking including schools. The incidence of COVID in schools has increased as more schools have reopened and because children are unvaccinated.  For example, Florida recorded more than 31,700 new COVID-19 cases in kids aged 19 and younger last week. (source)

Based on these facts, I urge the school committee to reinstate a mask mandate.  It is our job as parents and adults to protect our children, and a mask mandate will prevent the spread of COVID, preserve children's health, reduce hospitalization costs, and save lives.  We cannot in good conscience send our child to school knowing that he will face an increased risk of infection and without the ability to vaccinate him.

Sal and Tracey Darji



I am Paresh Kashikar and my daughter will be in 4th grade for academic session 2021-22 and her school is Merrymount Elementary.

Due to ongoing corona virus and kids under 12 are not vaccinated yet, we would prefer to have classes remote until the kids are fully vaccinated. We would strongly recommend you to let parents choose remote or in-person with mask mandate options for their kids. 

We understand that , students needs schools for social, emotional and learning development  however not at the cost of their health. 

Thank you so much for listening our concerns.

Thanks & Regards


To the members of the School Committee: 

My name is Laura Sanchez and I am the mother of a young child, resident of the city and English teacher at Quincy High School. I implore you to help create a healthy environment in our schools by requiring students and staff to wear masks. The learning experience last year was incredibly taxing for students and staff alike. The various adapted learning scenarios unfortunately led to feelings of isolation and disconnection for everyone involved. Although we somehow kept our heads above the water last year, no one wants to repeat that experience. The best way to ensure that we are able to keep school doors open and work our way towards a normal learning environment is to follow health advisories. This means starting the school year wearing masks and as the virus becomes less threatening, easing these protections. 

No one wants to wear a mask; they're annoying and teachers don't want to smell their own coffee breath all day. However, they are the simplest way to keep our community safe and to get back to school which we all miss dearly. 

Laura Sanchez



I am kavita Mishra, parent of two daughters, rising Kindergartener and a 2nd grader. With the rising cases amongst kids and first day of school around the corner I am seriously concerned about our kids, who make a big part of unvaccinated population. I really want this year to be as smooth as possible.. looking into the current scenario, our family prefers mask mandate or a remote learning option for our kids. We need to understand if a piece of cloth can save us from deadly sickness, we should not leave it. My concern also lies in the fact that kids should be considered in unvaccinated population and should be prompted for mask mandate.. it's not at all worth to put them on risk just for a piece of cloth which is been proved to be effective in viral transmission!

QPS has already set an example last year for students learning.. I feel blessed to reside in Quincy. I can very proudly say that in the school year gone by my kids learnt as much as they would had learnt in person, no compromise at all.. I am hoping for the similar wonderful year for upcoming school year. And I believe it will happen only when we will come out of anxious feeling of falling sick and making sick. This can be achieved by following the standard guidelines of wearing mask (in person learning) and social distancing (remote learning). 

I truly count on you for your decision for the well being of all kids in the community.. 

Dr. Kavita Mishra


Dear Quincy School Committee Members,

As we approach a return to school this September, we ask you to keep in mind your responsibility to minimize the risks of COVID for all children who attend the Quincy Public Schools. The decisions you make will affect our entire community. Your guide should be the very best science that we have available to us. According to the Centers for Disease Control, this means mandatory masking for all students, staff and educators regardless of vaccination status. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that masking is proven to reduce transmission of the virus.

At the end of the last school year, we had hoped that students and teachers would be able to go without masks when they returned in the fall. However, we must recognize the reality now: the Delta variant is more contagious and some data indicates it may cause more severe illness in unvaccinated individuals than the original virus. Given that children under 12 are not currently eligible to be vaccinated, it is our obligation (all of us) to wear masks when indoors in order to protect each other. We do not believe a voluntary masking policy in the schools will be effective. It will not protect children, their families and the community, and risks a forced return to remote schooling, something we should avoid unless absolutely necessary.

As more data becomes available, perhaps science will help guide us to make changes, but for now mandatory masking in schools is the only responsible decision. This is not about one's personal preference (very few of us WANT to wear masks); it is about using the best science available at this time to prevent serious illness and to save lives.

Furthermore, we urge the school system to persistently communicate accurate information from the CDC about the vaccines to families and to make the vaccines available in the schools for those who are eligible. Vaccination is the best way to protect one's self and others. It is the most effective weapon we have against COVID.

Thank you for your service on the school committee.

Karen and Larry Chretien



Given that we're in "uncharted waters" with how much the Delta variant might spread among unvaccinated children indoors who spend hours in close proximity, would it not make sense to use extra caution and maybe require masks for children under 12 who are unable to be least just for a few weeks or a month to start?   

We could then see how other towns/cities with similar vaccination rates fare and change our course of action, based upon that.  If we find outbreaks aren't occurring when masks are only "recommended" versus "required" and participation isn't always 100%, maybe we could then scale back.  I'm not sure this needs to be an all/or nothing decision from the get-go and I can't understand why we wouldn't just err on the side of caution at the very start by requiring masks initially for the first few weeks.  

Thank you for your consideration.
Robert Perkins


Dear School Committee,

I am the mother of two children in the Quincy Public Schools, a 10th grader at QHS, and a 7th grader at Broad Meadows MS. 

Once there is a fully-approved COVID vaccine for children, I expect it to be required for school attendance, in the same way as vaccines for chickenpox, measles, and so many other diseases that have been successfully controlled by vaccination. 

Until then, in order to protect everyone, masks should be mandatory for unvaccinated people, and in indoor spaces like our schools. The school system's job is to educate children, including in positive values like civic responsibility and caring for others. The main QPS website states, "Public education is strongly supported in Quincy for its all-important role in both the development of individuals as citizens and as productive members of the local and regional economy." Masking, to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, must be a part of this. And our schools cannot fulfill their mission of educating or supporting the development of individuals, if those individuals are quarantined, sick, hospitalized, or dead. 

Finally, I am encouraged to note that the home page of the QPS website links to CDC COVID-19 guidance as its #1 "important website". I urge you to follow that guidance: "CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place."

Thank you for your time.

Sarah K. Belfort



The school committee does not have the authority to dictate masks.  The school committee did not hear any medical information from opposing medical professionals. The Emergency orders from the state were lifted with the only exceptions being medical facilities.  And, how dare the meeting be in a special closed session without the public being able to speak!  You know this is wrong.  

"According to public health experts...", who?  There was nobody at the meeting?  Who testified to this?  Are we taking the CDC  word for it?  No unbiased discussions that DO NOT have a vested interest in big pharma?

 "...must be free from any statements or images that result in substantial disruption or materially interfere with school activities or administration."  Political speech is a the very heart of the first amendment.

This was lifted and is no longer in effect but it is still listed as a legal reference?  The mortality rate in Massachusetts never even reached the 4.3% required by law to make these mandates legal! Commonwealth of Massachusetts, COVID-19 Order No. 31 -   

Baker does not have the authority to suspend Open Meeting Law.  This is a direct violation of the Massachusetts Constitution.  A pandemic, not that it ever met the legal definition, does NOT suspend the Constitution.

One cannot have breathing without restriction with multiple layers of fabric per the notice that was sent out.

Follow the science.  The virus is so small it's like throwing sand at a chain link fence.  Think about it. 

"The purpose of the School Committee is to establish policies and make decisions on the basis of educational philosophy and goals, the most crucial of these being facilitating the optimal learning experience of the children enrolled in the Quincy Public Schools."  Where is the stuff on medical decisions?  Looking on the page and don't see where the school committee can make medical decisions without a discussion with the public or at least allowing medical professionals to address the committee. .....  Nope. Not there.

The minutes of the meeting were not posted as per state and city law.  Only a reference to a limited viewing of a video being held captive by a local community channel. 

My boys have asthma.  They WILL NOT being wearing masks.  Any objections or do I need to take some level of action?  The whole thing would not stand up in a proper court with a proper hearing.

Thank you,
Dan Campbell


Dear Mayor Koch and members of the School Committee,

My name is Carol Ann Marx and I am a grade 1 teacher at Montclair Elementary School.  During the 2020-2021 school year, I was a grade 1 remote teacher.  Needless to say, last year was the most challenging year I have ever experienced in almost 30 years of teaching.  Learning within a few short months how to adapt to technology and then delivering daily lessons to first graders remotely, was an experience none of us could have ever imagined.  However, I am proud of what my first graders accomplished.  Remarkably, we developed a community that truly loved and cared for each other.  In addition, they worked very hard and made progress.  I am so proud of my students.

As this year begins, I would like to address a few issues that are a concern to me.  First of all, l am very eager to return to my classroom for in person learning.  However, I am a little apprehensive and would like to be assured that QPS will continue to provide ALL necessary PPE's to insure a safe environment for staff and students.  Masks, sanitizer, paper towels (those that absorb), and gloves are extremely important.  In addition, I need to know that the ventilation of all classrooms will be checked often and that the custodial staff will continue to sanitize all areas of the building throughout the day.  Since we are not required to socially distant, my greatest concern is that there will be a "full house" of students in each building daily which did not occur last year because of the hybrid model.  

Secondly, my other concern is the social emotional well being of each and every student.  In QPS, the guidance department does a wonderful job on a daily basis, however, I also would like to be reassured that each building will have ample support.  One guidance counselor and part time school psychologists are sometimes not enough in some buildings.  With the reentry of many total remote learners from last year, this needs to be addressed.  I have always done my very best to seek out help from support staff for my students and provide strategies for all learners within my classroom, however, I want to know that if a situation arises that calls for immediate assistance in my classroom, it will be readily available.

It is indeed a privilege to serve as an elementary classroom teacher in the Quincy Public Schools.  I know that it is your intention to keep our staff and students safe as we journey through this pandemic.

Thank you for your immediate attention concerning this matter.

Carol Ann Marx


Good Morning , 

I am writing you today concerning School Mandates this Fall & I hope the committee is able to hear my and other parents concerns and take them into consideration. 

I understand you will likely implement mask indoors again but I would like to point out that Students have been in summer school and programs without mask or social distancing all summer long without any outbreaks or to my knowledge without even new cases. I understand information has been changing rapidly but Massachusetts has the second  highest vaccination rates in the country & if we believe the vaccine still protects people that should account for something. 

I personally believe it should be up to the parents whether their kids wear masks in doors but I believe the committee has probably already made up their minds on that so I hope at the very least the students wont be forced to wear masks outdoors or have to follow social distance mandates . Again if the vaccine still works we shouldn’t need as many restrictions as we did before. 

Also Children need some sort of normalcy back in their lives and enforcing masks and social distancing to the point where they can’t  even play most games at recess will most definitely effect them emotionally and the science backs that up. Experts have found depression and anxiety in children have gone up since having COVID restrictions and I think its unfair to put them through this when we know they themselves are still considered low risk and adults and the vulnerable are either already vaccinated or have the choice to do so. I say this as someone apart of the vulnerable population due to having Lupus. My risk level should not effect what other children have to do. We need common sense precautions like not sending your child to school sick but My protection comes from what I & my family do not what other peoples children do. 

I hope Quincy makes school as normal and pre covid as possible without extreme social distancing restrictions, at least no masks out doors and allow them to take breaks from wearing them. 

Thank You, 
Sharon Purcell-Haddad


I would like my 3rd grader to be masked and or offered remote school.

I dont get how adults/kids could not be together suddenly kids can be together unmasked and unvaccinated. Why did they waste a yr last yr then. I find this standard shocking. I work in a hospital plenty of kids have Covid. No mask is shocking see what happened in florida

Ruhina Amritanand-Fort


Esteemed Members of the School Committee:

I am writing this letter on behalf of my two daughters that will be beginning elementary school in the next few weeks in the Quincy Public Schools this upcoming school year. I am advocating on their behalf to request that there is not a mandatory mask wearing policy for children that are attending the Quincy public schools. I believe that anyone that feels more comfortable wearing a mask has the right to make that decision, however, I feel that my wife and I should be afforded the same freedom to make the decision to not force my children to wear a mask.

I have been looking for data recently to support my argument that children should not be subjected to mask mandates for another school year when I realized that the best case to support this argument was right here in the city of Quincy. The 2021 summer school program coordinated by Quincy Public Schools proved that families should make their own decision on what is best for their children. Masks were optional throughout the entire program and there was not one positive case out of three thousand participants. My daughter was in the Quincy Recreational program for the past six weeks. There was close contact with the children, almost no masks were worn by the children, and there was not one positive Covid-19 case.

The current situation with the Covid-19 virus is not the same situation that our community faced at the beginning of last school year, or even at the end of this past school year. The Quincy School department has worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure that our buildings and children are safe in the schools, and that all Quincy Public School staff members have had the opportunity to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

When I am confronted with decisions in my life, I always ask myself, “How would I feel if I was the person on the other side of this decision?” In this situation I think about myself when I was a student at Squantum Elementary School and how much anxiety and strain wearing a mask for six straight hours would be for my cognitive, emotional, mental, and social development. I would ask that all members of the school committee consider these long-term negative consequences that our children will sustain by imposing a measure that does not match the threat.

The Quincy School Committee is elected to represent all the families of the Quincy Public School system and to take into consideration what is best for all the 9,000 children that attend the Quincy public schools. The families of the Quincy public schools deserve the right to have a choice about what is appropriate for their children and their families. Imposing a mask mandate does not completely eradicate the Covid-19 virus, but it does bring many long-term serious consequences that our children will have to endure for years to come. I implore the Quincy School Committee to not vote for a city-wide mask mandate in schools, and to allow families to choose what is best for their children.

Respectfully Submitted,

James P. Campbell



We are Amit & Pratibha, parents of a second grade student. She thoroughly enjoyed her online school in kindergarten and first grade. We were happy our child is safe at home and still able to connect to her school, teachers, and friends online.
Last year we all have lost someone we knew. Now with the current delta variant which is more contiguous and life-threatening to unvaccinated people, it is a very difficult situation for parents to send their kids to school. We sincerely request to the Quincy public schools to let parents choose remote or in-person with mask mandate option for their kids.
We already have enough data for reference that anyone could be a carrier and everyone might get affected in school even if one person is positive. We really need schools for social, emotional, and learning development for our kids, but not at the cost of their lives.

Thanks for listening to our concerns.

Warm regards,
Amit & Pratibha Chauhan


I live in South Quincy. My daughter is a rising third grader and my son is entering kindergarten. I am writing to you in regards to the school committee meeting tonight and to express my opinion that indoor mask wearing should be mandatory this school year. An optional mask wearing policy is neither effective from a pubic health standpoint nor reasonable in terms of what we’re expecting teachers to “police.” 

It is such a simple measure and I am confused as to how it is even a question. Last year at this time, the kids wore masks, social distanced, had significantly smaller class sizes, there were virtual options and we had pooled testing. Now there will be bigger classes, an entirely unvaccinated population, little distancing, a significantly more contagious variant and potentially no masks? It is odd that the school committe can not accommodate an open, public meeting tonight and has to host virtually because of the threat posed by Delta, yet our children will be in school but potentially without masks. Quite honestly, it makes no sense. I can assure you that the parents of school aged children in my neighborhood share my sentiment. It’ll just be easier to go this route and will give parents some peace of mind during a hard time. QPS did an impressive job last year with its policies and implementation and we sincerely hope that continues. 

Our children deserve to have a school year that has relatively fewer disruptions and challenges than last year. Wearing masks will help our kids to physically be in school full time. If mask-wearing is optional, will entire classes have to quarantine (and their parents take time off from from work) every time another classmate contracts Covid? 

The benefits of mask wearing also goes beyond Covid, as they reduced overall sickness in our children last year. The school mandates lots of other less meaningful things like a dress code and the outlawing of peanut butter, and people don't seem to give those rules much thought. Yet, when it comes to combatting a deadly disease, our leaders (including Mayor Koch) seem to be cowing to a vocal minority that adheres to a very perverse sense of personal liberty and freedom, one that will put our children at risk. Making masks “optional” is a half measure, at best.  Just look at what happened in the Florida school districts that opened without a mask mandate. It was a disaster. We can, and should, do better. I have been talking with many other parents in Metro Boston towns and they're shocked that Quincy is even debating this. In an ideal world, no we wouldn’t want our kids to have to wear a mask everyday, but the majority of kids I know are fine with it and since we are still in a public health crisis, we have to slightly inconvenience our children to keep them (and their community) safe. 

I sincerely appreciate your committment to ensuring that the committe listens to science and public health professionals and experts, not politicians. I understand that being a busy mom, juggling work and life doesn't leave much "spare" time, so I am thankful we have someone like you on the committee whose kids are currently enrolled in our public school system and a fellow parent who is living through the unique stress of raising children right now. Please take a stand and vote in favor of a mask mandate. 

Thank you! 

Lindsey (and Robert) Buchholz
Dana and Paul Harkin
Jen and James Simons
Kiersten Sullivan & Stephanie Berman


Dear School Committee,

We are the parents of two children who attend Quincy Public Schools.  We are writing in regard to the School Committee's Special Meeting this week regarding "communicable diseases/face coverings."  We support a mask mandate for everyone at Quincy schools (teachers, staff, and students).  We also support a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for teachers, staff and eligible students, as well as regular pooled COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated students.  Our kids need to be in school with their teachers full time.  Though remote and hybrid schooling were needed options before vaccines were available, they are not acceptable long-term substitutes for in-person instruction.  It is now time for all children to return to school, and a mask mandate, vaccine mandate, and pooled testing will ensure that everyone can do this safely.

Thank you for your consideration.
Jeanette and James Kogler


Dear Members of the Quincy School Committee,

I support requiring all students, faculty and administrators to wear masks while inside school buildings when QPS re-opens on Sept. 8.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. If the primary goal for the 2021-22 school year is to welcome all students and teachers back fully in-person into QPS classrooms with minimal disruption, a district-wide policy across all schools and grades to wear masks indoors is a safe and simple action to take towards accomplishing that goal. As a mother, daughter, friend, and community member I urge you to promote and protect not only the health of QPS students and staff, but also the well-being of all those who live with, care for, interact with, and most importantly, love them.

Please vote in favor of a QPS mask mandate.

Jennifer Chen


Thank you for receiving our concerns. I am the parent of an incoming 5th grader and 7th grader who returned to in person school in March.

I am so grateful for all the hard work of teachers, staff, and administrators for making school engaging, for supporting students and families, and for keeping us all safe through mitigation, masking, distancing contact tracing, and safety practices during the past year and a half. These measures kept in school transmission at a minimum. I am so grateful. I am also grateful that my older child is now vaccinated and eagerly await availability of the shot for my younger child.

These measures are also the reason we felt comfortable sending our kids back into the classroom. I strongly urge the schools to continue these practices until all students are able to be vaccinated. The delta variant is significantly more contagious and can be spread even by vaccinated people. It is imperative that indoor masking continue in elementary and middle school until the vaccine is available for all ages and that all unvaccinated people in middle and high school are masked. Among vaccinated middle and high school students, mask restrictions could be voluntary once community transmission levels have fallen back into the green.

QPS did an Amazing job last year. Thank you for all the hard work and hard decisions that made it possible for our kids to learn. Please continue to keep following the CDC guidelines and the latest data as the situation unfolds and to make the best and safest decisions for our kids and families moving forward.

Masks work. Please keep using them.

Thank you.
Jeanne Lucas



As a parent of a 1st grader, I strongly encourage the school committee to vote for mandatory indoor masking as recommended by both the Ceneters for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

As we have no way to determine who is vaccinated in our community and a significant portion of the QPS students are not yet eligible for the vaccine, QPS should require masks in schools for the upcoming school year. Universal indoor masking will help us to minimize the spread of COVID in our schools, limit quarantines, and keep our students learning in-person five days a week.

Thank you for your time.

Caitlin Edwards


Please make them mandatory. For all of our sake.

Laura Moye


Members of School Committee,

     Unfortunately, we are standing on the precipice of another school year set to begin in the long shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.  You once again find yourselves in the unenviable position of having to make potentially unpopular decisions.  The issue before you tonight, the decision to require masking or to make it optional, is one such example.

     The politics around masks have been messy and filled with misinformation, and the inclination among people to ignore facts when they don’t support their position has never been higher, so let’s not start tonight talking about facts and figures.  Let’s talk about consequences.

     As a body, you must decide whether to extend the current universal masking policy or end it.  What are the worst-case consequences of those two possible decisions?  If you decide to make masking optional, the worst-case scenario is that people get sick and die.  What isn’t hypothetical is that hospitals across this country are filling up with younger unvaccinated people, the type of students who make up a majority of our student population.  What also isn’t hypothetical is that the Delta variant which accounts for the vast majority of current US cases seems to have the most success at breaking through vaccination, so in a real way, everyone is once again at risk from infection and from carrying that infection to others.

     The real-world worst-case scenario of requiring masks is, quite frankly, almost nothing.  Approximately 621,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States.  Exactly 0 people in the United States have died from wearing a mask.  The consequences are maybe mild discomfort.  I don’t love wearing a mask.  After a while, it irritates the back of my ears.  But I would wear it all day every day if doing so has the potential to save lives.  And here the science is clear.  Masks DO save lives.

     In any other context, this decision would be common sense and would have been made months ago.  In fact it already has, in other contexts.  There has been an increase in recent years in the number of students with life-threatening peanut allergies.  As a school system, what do we do with such students?  We protect them, of course.  And if anyone ever suggested that their right to a peanut butter sandwich was more important than another student’s right to live, we would be horrified at such a grand act of petty selfishness.  The argument against masks is really no different.  People would have us believe that their comfort should be regarded as so sacrosanct that it is OK if someone else has to die for it.   Well, It isn’t, and only the needlessly muddied waters of hyper-charged American politics threaten to obscure that simple truth.

     And that’s really all this decision should be about.  Not about politics.  Not about possibly alienating voters or constituents.  This is, I believe, a really simple moral decision. What is the safest thing to do?  What is the decent thing to do?  What can we do to assure kids and their families that they don’t need to risk their health or even their lives to get an education?  The answer is clear.  We can mandate masks until Covid is under control.  And if we can, at the same time, teach an entire generation of kids that sometimes you have to sacrifice your personal comforts to protect the most vulnerable among us, then that’s not such a bad thing either. 

     Although the politics of Covid make it look like this is a hard decision, it should be the easiest one you ever have to make.  Life over comfort.  Health over convenience.  Please do the right thing.  Protect the students, teachers, and staff of this school system by opening this school year with a universal masking mandate.

Michael J Ellis

English Department Chair- Quincy High School

Vice President QEA



As parents of elementary and middle school QPS students, we are writing to express our support for mandatory masking and physical distancing for students and school staff this upcoming school year. We were impressed with how Quincy handled everything last year with keeping the schools open and it would be a mistake to allow children and teachers back into the buildings without masks.

Carly and Paul Bridden




I'm writing this letter in support of keeping masks optional!  Our children should not be forced to wear masks.  Leave it up to the families to decide what is right for their own children.  It is also very simple, for those that are worried, then wear a mask.  Not everyone is scared anymore. 

Thank you,

Kim Magaldi


Dear School Committee Members,

The debate over masks has been deeply politicized, but the facts are clear:

Given these facts, requiring masks in classrooms will protect the health of students, their families, and their teachers.

Not wearing masks could lead to COVID outbreaks and quarantines that could force classrooms and schools to close. That would create havoc as families scramble to find last-minute child care and manage remote learning. 

Many Quincy families already feel uncomfortable with the risks of COVID transmission in schools, as evidenced by the fact that about half of QPS students took classes remotely last year. Without a mask mandate, many of these families may choose to pull their students from QPS (I know of one mother already thinking about homeschooling because of QPS’s recent announcement about the lack of a mask mandate for the coming school year). 

Masks are not fun (and a minority of students are simply not able to wear them). But being able to go to school in person is important for kids’ and families’ wellbeing, and masks allow that to happen more safely, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (emphasis is mine):

“Research has shown that opening schools generally does not significantly increase community transmission with masking and other safety measures in place. Recently, COVID-19 variants have emerged that may increase the risk of transmission and result in worsening illness. Given the effectiveness of safety precautions when used consistently, children are at higher risk of suffering mental health issues and developmental setbacks if they miss out on in-school learning, according to AAP.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends masks for everyone in schools: “Due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.”

Please listen to the health experts. Let’s get kids back in schools safely – which means masking up.

Maggie McKee


The mask wearing on a daily basis increased my student's anxiety exponentially and hindered his ability to learn and have any social progress, which is one of the goals on his IEP.  

Although students wearing masks is a “recommendation” by the CDC, there is no scientific data that shows that it is effective.

It should be 100% up to parents to decide whether or not to have their child/children wear a mask in school. 

Leigh Lucas Geary



I am writing in support of mandatory masking indoors for all students and staff when school reopens this fall.  Our city meets all of the CDC guidelines for when masking indoors should happen, even for vaccinated folks.  Last year, our kids demonstrated their resilience and ability to comply with mask wearing; let’s not let up on safety precautions too soon.  It would be much easier and better to start with a masking requirement that we can ease with improvements in spread than to have to pivot to masks later, or even move to a remote model for some time if we have any major outbreaks, like we have seen happening in other districts that have already returned to school.

I have kids going into 4th grade (Squantum) and 6th grade (Central Middle School) and both are still too young to qualify for vaccination.  Until we can get the Delta variant under control, it makes sense to begin with a more cautious approach.  While I am proud of MA for being a high vaccination state, our case counts have been on the rise in Norfolk County since late July.  As a teacher in higher education, I have experienced the challenges of teaching and learning with masks, but sometimes we have to do hard things.


Vicki Schow


To the Members of the Quincy School Committee,

I am writing to voice my strong support for a mask requirement for all students, faculty, staff and guests in Quincy Public Schools this fall.

As the parent of a middle school student and high school student during the 2020-2021 school year, I was so impressed with the leadership of our district and the tireless work of our teachers to provide as much safe, in-person schooling as possible.  By following the science, QPS kept schools open and safe  through implementing masking, distancing, cleaning and testing protocols.

This fall, we need to continue the masking policy that helped keep our students, teachers and families safe last year.  The Delta variant of Covid-19 has proven much more virulent and contagious, and masks are one of our strongest forms of protection. Since masks are most effective when used universally, they should be required in all in QPS facilities.

Thank you,
Kathy Groom-Nguyen


Dear Members of the School Committee:

As a QPS parent of two daughters, I urge you to implement an indoor mask requirement for K-8 students at a minimum.  The CDC guidance encourages indoor mask use for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in high transmission areas, which Norfolk County and the State now are.  An indoor mask requirement should be in place until all school age children have a vaccine available with sufficient time for students to receive both doses, plus two weeks for full immunity.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter and for your service on the School Committee.


Sharon Dennehy


To the members of the School Committee,

My name is Gayle Carvalho. For the past 13 years I was a high-school English teacher at Quincy High School and currently serve as the president of the Quincy Education Association, representing nearly 950 public-school educators from pre-kindergarten to grade 12.

My letter tonight is not about my members but rather the 9,500 students and their families -  the people we serve in the city of Quincy.  I am asking that the School Committee maintain the policy that was put into effect a year ago, which would require masks in the school buildings this fall.  I ask this in order to keep all of our students and their families safe and our educators in the classroom.

The need for masking at the start of this school year will help the children get back to in-person learning in the safest way we can provide for them. It's quite simple: Half of the children in QPS cannot receive a vaccine. We, as a school district, need to protect unvaccinated children. The easiest way to do this is by having all people in school buildings wearing masks.

Why would you choose not to protect the students by asking them to wear a mask for a short while longer? Their parents, their grandparents - perhaps they are your neighbors. Why would you choose not to protect them? And your staff in the school system - most of whom chose to get vaccinated to keep themselves and their students safe. Why would you choose not to keep them healthy and on the job?

Your staff is ready to return to the classroom to meet their new students. They, of course, would love to return with a large visible smile. They want to instruct, inspire and instill a love of learning in their students. And they will do all of these things because a mask will not keep them from doing their job.

Let's be clear: The students and staff who were in person last year wore masks and it wasn't an issue. Now, the district is moving every student and educator back into the buildings. More students, more staff, less spacing. Regardless of their vaccine status, why would you consider choosing some children over others? The "recommended but not required" language puts some children and their families at risk.

The responsibility of the district is to provide an education in a safe environment to the children of this city. Over the past few weeks, we have heard about the importance of public service and personal responsibility. Tonight, I ask you - the members of the Quincy School Committee - make the correct call on your commitment in the service to all of Quincy's children.

Each of you decided to serve the children in these 19 schools by running for office and making a pledge to do right by them as well as the people who love and care for them. Now, you need to do the right thing for them by maintaining the mask requirement for the common good. That's the true calling of public service - serving the entire public. Please do the right thing and keep all of our students safe.

Gayle Carvalho


I am writing to share my thoughts/concerns regarding the mask policy for students. Initially, I planned on sending you lots of data, journal articles and our pediatrician's recommendations about kids wearing masks....but I appreciate your time and assume you are already well aware of the important information available. 

I was very happy when I read in the QPS Newsletter that masks would be a family choice.  I was very disappointed to hear about this meeting, possibly changing the policy.

While I understand there are many situations/children that need to be in a mask, I strongly feel there are just as many that should not. Every family and every child may have their own unique reasons for needing/not needing a mask and I feel it is way more inclusive to allow each family to choose to do what is best. 

I believe health isn't one size fits all and bodily autonomy should be respected. 

Every parent wants to do what they feel is best for their child....please don't take that away from us. Please keep masks as an option not a requirement for an education.

Thank you for your time and everything you do for our wonderful school system.


Kara Bligh


To whom it may concern,

I would like to write in favor of an indoor mask mandate for all students and staff at Merrymouth School (and throughout Quincy).  I am a pediatrician, and see, first hand, the ravages of COVID on children and families.  In particular, we see that children who contract COVID may have mild symptoms, but they can develop long term effects similar to adult "Long COVID", as well as long term heart disease and inflammation.  The Delta Variant is extremely contagious, and is easily spread, even by people who are vaccinated.  Luckily, those.who are vaccinated are at significantly lower risk of hospitalization and death, but our children are not vaccinated as well as many vulnerable people in our community.  I think that a mask mandate is a simple way to help decrease the spread of COVID in our community.  Children tend to do very well with masks, especially when everyone is wearing one.  My patients, and my own children, rarely complain about wearing them.  They know that it is important to keep themselves and those around them safe.  Many local school systems have already instituted a mask mandate.  In addition, and possibly less important, is that you risk episodes of bullying in children and parents if some people choose to wear masks and others choose not to.   Please consider the following articles when discussing the mask mandate.

Thank you for your consideration.

Danielle and Hubert Lam


Good Afternoon Committee Members,

I am a mother of a 6th grader.  I am writing to the committee today to strongly encourage mandating face coverings for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. 

As this insidious disease continues to run rampant in our MA communities, Quincy is not an exception.  While the community as a whole has demonstrated a strong commitment to the safety of themselves and others by wearing face masks, socially distancing, and practicing hand washing, the Delta Variant continues to show this pandemic is still not over.

Quincy Public Schools demonstrated a sound response last year in implementing a strong remote learning process and I was impressed with the quality of instruction and outstanding commitment by the teachers, staff and leadership at the school.  As a parent I appreciated this effort and can say that Quincy approached remote and hybrid learning in a comprehensive way as compared to other Massachusetts communities.

But nothing replaces face to face learning.  We saw as a community last spring that we can rally and move forward in a safe way with our children, teachers, staff and administrators being in a classroom and school together.  Merrymount was a sound example of how leadership, teachers and staff can commit and be successful in implementing a safe environment for our kids to be in the classroom, be with their peers, and have success in a face to face learning environment.  

We can't regress in this effort.  As a parent, I fully support having my child wear a face mask in the school setting, practice whatever expected social distance policies needed, and commit to being safe while returning to a face to face school setting environment.  We have seen Quincy Public Schools be successful with such an approach.  

With the Delta Variant strong in MA communities, implementing mandatory mask wearing in the school and classroom will allow our children the critical face to face learning environment they need for not only their academic health, but for their social/emotional/mental health as sadly we have seen over the course of this pandemic social isolation, depression, anxiety and even suicidality has spiked and has become a critical mental health and public health issue among school age children and adolescents. 

I strongly encourage the committee to implement a mask mandate so our children can be safe and return to the classroom where they will thrive.

Thank you for your time in considering my input. 


Heather McDuffus


Dear Quincy School Committee Members,

I am writing to ask you to require that staff and students wear masks in Quincy Public Schools. Masks have been proven to reduce the spread of covid. They are one of the best tools we have to help keep covid under control in our schools.

Exceptions can be made for individuals who cannot wear masks due to special needs.

I know that some parents will object to requiring masks. However, I suspect just as many or more will want masks to be required to protect the health of both their children and members of their families, especially the elderly and immunocompromised.

You won't be able to please everyone on this matter, but you can choose to prioritize the health and safety of our children and our most vulnerable community members. And you can choose to protect Quincy's ability to continue in-person learning.

The science is clear. Given what we know about how important masks are for reducing the spread of covid, not requiring them would be doing a disservice to our children and the community. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this issue.


David Shiga


Good morning,

Please vote for the universal masking mandate for Quincy Public Schools.

As educators and parents, we all want our learners to thrive. It’s clear that they do this best when they feel physically and emotionally healthy so they can focus, interact with their peers, and think carefully about the lessons they encounter.

Also clear are the health benefits provided by masks at this point in the pandemic - they are simple and easy tools to keep the most folks safe.

However, another benefit may be the way masks can eliminate more disruptions in our school year. Some folks may complain a bit about the annoyance of a mask, but it’s a trivial cost when we consider the possible alternative of our students missing class with sickness or because of a quarantine, our teachers missing class with sickness or because of a quarantine, or another shift to remote learning for days or weeks or more.

I loved some of the Socratic seminars and class discussions my English 9 Advanced and English 11 Honors classes could have last May and June. Masks and social distancing did not get in the way of those conversations in even a small way. Sure, visually the class looked a bit different from other years  - but it had the same energy and enthusiasm. 

It seems that masks offer us the best chance to maintain that vibrant, exciting style of learning. Why would we risk losing it again?

I so hope that we can take the steps that we need to take to preserve it. Please take one of those steps by voting for the mask mandate.

Thank you for your time,

Christopher Natalizia


To the QPS School Committee, 

I want to voice my opinion in favor of keeping the mask requirement in our schools for this fall. Especially for those under the age of 12. 

I know you will be getting many emails and phone calls about this issue. I know that the “unmask our kids” crowd is passionate as well. But with the highly infectious Delta variant circulating, removing masks indoors could be a recipe for disaster. Just one infected child could spread the virus to an entire class, especially in elementary schools where no children are yet vaccinated.

This is why both the CDC and the Academy of American Pediatrics strongly recommend masks for unvaccinated children in schools at this point in the pandemic. A pandemic which is clearly not over. 

Many are saying that the reason why we can drop the mask mandate inside school buildings is because children are at minimal risk for severe COVID. This is true, to some extent. However, it may not be true for a mother such as myself who has a child at home which in her short time here on earth has been admitted multiple times to the hospital for lung issues. If we do not protect my oldest in the classroom, there is a good chance my youngest may not make it through this pandemic unscathed. 

The CDC has data showing that among the adolescents who were hospitalized with COVID this past spring, a third were admitted to the ICU and 5% required ventilation. We are seeing huge hospitalization spikes in children who have caught the Delta variant, including children admitted to intensive care units. While Massachusetts numbers are much lower compared to other areas of the country currently, remember we have all been enjoying our summer outdoors. 

Last school year proved that kids could go to school and remain safe, even during a global pandemic. Why was this possible? MASKS. Masks worked last school year, and most children adapted well. And part of the reason masks worked well is because all children and staff wore them inside diligently.

If we move toward a maskless or mask-optional environment, especially among children under 12, we risk losing that safety measure that so many of us desire and deserve for our children. Again, all it takes is one maskless, infected individual to spread the virus to many. Why start the school year unprepared? We need to be diligent now, so that we can hopefully all move forward together later when masks hopefully will no longer be needed. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Morgan MacDougall


Hello Committee Members,

I am writing to ask that you mandate that staff and students be vaccinated against covid to enter our high schools this upcoming school year. This would greatly reduce the possibility of covid transmission in our community. Proof of vaccination for other common diseases is required already, and I see no reason not to add covid to this list. 

Taking this step would also greatly reduce the need for masks and make for a much better learning environment.

Public health decisions should be based on the science, which data shows these vaccines to be safe and effective. Your leadership is critical to moving Quincy forward thru these difficult times 


Jake Forrest

QHS Faculty


Dear School Committee Members,

I am writing to voice my concern about the mask policy that Quincy Public Schools is planning to adopt for the upcoming year.  I am aware that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has strongly recommended mask wearing when indoors for students in kindergarten through grade 6.  I am also aware that there will likely be no virtual option for students in the fall.

Both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors.  I am very concerned about the spread of Covid among unvaccinated children that will not be socially distanced indoors--especially given that no children under 12 years have been vaccinated.  If masks are not made mandatory in the schools, then there needs to be a virtual option for families who would feel unsafe sending their children to school.     

I appreciate your taking the time to read my concerns and hope that either QPS adopts a mandatory indoor mask policy or will provide a virtual learning option as an alternative.


Phoebe Chan


I want to voice my opinion in favor of keeping the mask requirement in our schools.
The thought of leaving masks behind as a new school year starts is a complete disregard for public health. As a nurse working in a major Boston Hospital I have witnessed first hand the devastating impact of Covid-19. We now know the efficacy of the vaccine declines over time.  Pair this finding with the highly transmissible variant and you have a potential set up for chaos. I want my kids in school.... uninterrupted by unnecessary Covid exposures/cases. Their education matters.
I strongly urge this School Committee to require universal indoor masking for students this coming year, as per the latest CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics guidance. Given the outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant, just one infected child could easily spread the virus to an entire class, especially in elementary schools where no children are yet vaccinated. Until all school-aged children have the opportunity to be vaccinated against Covid-19, we need to continue to protect them. While children are thankfully, less likely to die or require hospitalization than adults, many are still developing long term symptoms from the virus.
We know masking works and it’s an obvious solution in protecting the public health of every student and staff in Quincy. Mask every child. Mask every employee. Because they matter. Their short term and long term health matters.
Their families matter....and as a community we can stand together in unity and protect the greater good. Now is not the time to let the masks go.
Thank you for your time.
Danielle Neal


Dear Committee Members,

We are writing to urge the Quincy Public School District to require universal indoor masking for students this coming year, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control[1] and the Academy of American Pediatrics[2]. We strongly believe that a mask mandate for students and staff in all grades is the most appropriate course of action; however, as parents of a fourth grade student who is not yet old enough to receive a vaccination, we advocate for a targeted mask requirement for the elementary grades at the very minimum.

If not for the growing prevalence of the highly transmissible Delta variant, we acknowledge that the best course of action regarding mandatory masking might have been up for debate. However, we believe we should take a lesson from the plight of schools in other parts of the country who eliminated mask mandates and ended up with a return to remote learning, large numbers of quarantined students and staff, and, in some cases, severe illnesses and deaths among school-aged children.

The last school year proved that children can go to school and remain safe. In great part, this was due to the policy of indoor masking. Masks are a simple public health measure that most children tolerate well. You may ask - why not just make masks optional for those who want to wear them? The answer is: masking works when the practice is adopted universally and diligently. All it takes is one maskless individual in a mask-optional environment to infect many.

Until all children are approved to be vaccinated against COVID-19, it is our highest duty to protect them. We must listen and adapt to the evolving science surrounding the transmission of COVID-19 - part of which tells us that even vaccinated individuals can still spread the virus to the unvaccinated, and that the Delta variant making inroads into our community is many times more transmissible than the COVID-19 variants our children faced last year and over the summer. While science also tells us that children have been, thankfully, less likely to develop severe illness, day by day in ever larger numbers they are requiring hospitalization, intubation, acquiring serious long term side effects and even dying.[3] If QPS moves forward with no mask mandate and even one child from the Quincy Public School system suffers such severe consequences, it is my opinion that we all will look back at this moment with anger, grief, and regret at this preventable outcome.

We are asking you to support mandatory indoor masking for Quincy Public School students and staff.

Thank you for your consideration.

Lisa and David Eavarone





Good Afternoon,

I’m a parent of a child entering kindergarten this fall and am writing to inquire about the types COVID policies/practices which are being planned to reduce the risk of infection while at school.

  • Masks: Will there be a mask mandate?  With the delta variant and vaccines unavailable for children under 12, this seems like the most important, and simplest, protective measure which should be in place.

  • Ventilation:  Stagnant indoor air should be avoided through increasing the amount of fresh air introduced to classrooms and common areas.

  • Will operable windows be opened?  Are there temperature extremes which would trigger window closing?

  • Will air-handlers be re-circulating indoor air?  If so, what type of filtration is in place?  If filtration is impossible, will dampers be opened to allow for 100% fresh, outdoor air delivery?

  • Have any fixtures (fans, HEPA filters, etc.) been added specifically to address COVID ventilation?

  • Lunch/Eating:  Eating obviously requires mask removal, and so special consideration should be given to where/how kids eat.

    • Will lunch be served outdoors?  I have heard of other school districts (Watertown for example) where kids eat lunch outside on towels they bring, and tents are provided in inclement weather.

    • If no, where will kids eat lunch?

  • If lunch is to be eaten indoors, what distancing/spacing practices will be employed?

  • Testing: Will there be any school-proctored COVID testing for students; pool testing or otherwise?

Thank you for taking the time to consider these questions.

Steve Monstur


I submit this statement in favor of mandatory masking in Quincy Public Schools for the 2021-22 school year.

In its mission statement, The Quincy Public Schools states that its goal is “to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for children to achieve their individual maximum potential.” In light of this, it seems clear that the correct thing to do is require masking in schools.

Not requiring masking creates an unsafe environment for everyone in a school, especially children who are unable to be vaccinated due to their age. As of Wednesday, August 18, 2021, the CDC Covid Data Tracker has categorized Norfolk County as at risk of “substantial” community transmission of Covid-19; this means the CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask indoors.

As a teacher who taught in-person throughout the 2020-21 school year, I know the challenges that a classroom of masks can present. However, knowing that masks will help prevent the possibility of severe illness or death of a child or teacher in the school community is well worth that challenge. I have confidence that the teachers in Quincy will rise to the occasion, as they have throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is the responsibility of the School Committee to ensure the safety of all students enrolled in Quincy Public Schools; let us not politicize the health and safety of our children.

Thank you, 

Leslie LaRocca


Dear Mayor Koch and members of the Quincy School Committee,

I am a working parent and I want our children in person in school full time for this whole year without interruption. I have talked to many, many parents recently about their reasons for needing a universal mask mandate at QPS. I share many of their thoughts and will speak from my perspective as a working mom.

Like so many others in our community, I am a working parent who is expected to be back in the office in September without any option for working from home in case of quarantine or sickness due to covid or close contact. My children are 8 and 3 so they are too young to stay home alone and too young to qualify for a vaccine. The best protection for their health and ability to stay in person in school continuously is universal masking. We have no way of knowing who is vaccinated and who isn’t so universal masking is the most effective way to ensure our children can go to school and stay in school.

I have no interest in keeping my kids in a bubble, in fact, it’s just the opposite. As a social worker, I know very well the emotional and social toll that the pandemic has collectively had on our children. This is why I believe our children need to be full in person at school. Let’s start the school year with our kids in masks and give them the best shot possible at healthy childhoods with their peers in person in school. If you are committed to parent choice, then my choice is universal masking.

Thank you,

Liz Speakman


Dear Quincy School Committee,

Thank you very much for your hard work.

I’m very disappointed in the decision not to require masks for our K-12 school members. Let us apply what I emphasize with my kids: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Masks are the least we can do to help us all take care of ourselves, our families, and our wider community. I remind my kids regularly that we won’t always wear masks but we are still in a global pandemic. We must do what we can with what we have.

  1. Our children under twelve cannot be vaccinated and, therefore, have fewer protections against the virus. Masks, handwashing and social distancing, especially when schools are at full capacity, should still be followed as much as possible.

  2. It will be a huge hardship, especially on families, when any staff and students have to be quarantined from exposures. Let masks help limit the chances of those scenarios happening.

  3. Masks are strongly encouraged by the CDC and AAP, especially for our unvaccinated populations together in enclosed settings. Other school districts in the Boston area are mandating masks as well (i.e Billerica, Andover, Acton Boxborough). The delta variant is many times more contagious than the COVID strain that shut down our schools last year. We need to protect ourselves and others the very best we can while getting back to work and school. Until the vaccine is deemed appropriate for all ages, let masks help us protect our schools and our honest efforts to give our kids this vital part of their pre-pandemic lives.

  4. So many of our front line workers (i.e. teachers, school staff, medical professionals) are burnt out. We must minimize the strain on them as much as possible. Requiring a very basic protection such as a mask is not asking too much but it will help decrease transmission, quarantining, and hospitalizations.

  5. How we choose to frame this time, this issue, is important. Our children can learn from their adults in this chaotic time the value of solidarity, and caring for ourselves, our loved ones, and community members. Let time and fatigue not erase some of the camaraderie and support we saw towards the beginning of this pandemic.

In short, we are still in a global pandemic. Any precautions that we can take right now will pay off. We need to be together and we need to take better care of each other, and that should be at the center of our decision making.

Let us at least do the minimum. Require masks. Especially since kids under twelve have no access to the vaccine at this time. Let’s protect our most vulnerable, our families, our communities, our health systems, our economy, and our country.

Thank you for your time.


Lauren Blair


Respect Members of the School Committee
> I would strongly urge you to consider a full mask mandate for the schools. All this while when adults were not vaccinated, everyone was required to wear masks. But now that the delta variant has shown that there are breakthrough infections amongst vaccinated adults, how can the kids especially under 12 be considered safe when they are not vaccinated. I request to err on side of caution and not go mask-less before there is universal access to a vaccine because one child in ICU is one too many. I strongly request that any decision to make masks optional be placed on hold until the entire population of Quincy (including the children below age 12) has an option and opportunity to access the life-saving vaccine first. We have enough data from states that have reopened without the mask mandate have resulted in kids being admitted to ICU’s because of delta variant. We are seeing the impact of delta variant now hence, I request to start with the mandatory mask and ease into optional mask if there are no infections.
> Regards
Shivpreet Singh


Dear School Committee Members:

As parents of a child entering the first grade at Bernazzani Elementary School, we implore that you apply the recommendations of the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics in setting a policy that all QPS students, teachers and staff wear masks while indoors to start the school year.

Unlike earlier in the summer, Massachusetts is experiencing a higher incidence of COVID-19 according to every measurable statistic.  Most telling, the wastewater testing performed by the MWRA has shown a spike in viral RNA - a leading indicator of clinically diagnosed cases - to levels last seen in February 2021.  Unfortunately, this surge in infections will coincide with our children returning to the classroom.

The transmissibility of the Delta variant has been estimated to be over twice as high as its viral ancestor.  Among the unvaccinated, an infected individual will go on to infect 5 others on average.  This virus is as contagious as chickenpox.  We ask you to consider how this would play out in an elementary school without implementing effective public health measures such as universal masking.

The optimism that we had in the spring and earlier this summer must be tempered by the facts on the ground.  Through policy set by the School Committee, it is imperative that QPS keep the youngest among us safe - especially those under 12 who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.  For the safety of our son, his peers and our educators, we hope that you will urge the committee to adopt the recommendations above.

Thank you for your devotion to our public schools. Please let us know if we can provide further perspective as parents.

Kate & Ted Mulrane


To whom it may concern,

I am writing to strongly advocate for a QPS-wide masks required policy to be enforced this coming 2021-2022 school year. With cases spiking nationwide, including in MA, and the Delta variant causing illness even in vaccinated adults, I am seriously concerned about the risk of infection to young students who cannot be vaccinated yet. Making masks not required or optional increases the risk of exposure and infection to all, but most especially kids who remain unprotected from the virus. 

Not making the mask policy mandatory and required means that we are deliberately making kids who do wear masks the "odd one out," contributing to a sense of exclusion at an age when this is intolerable. I want my son to wear a mask to protect himself and others around him, and I do not want him to risk feeling "other" than everyone else because masks are optional. This would present an undue negative impact on his mental health and sense of self.

As a parent who has taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, I opted to have my son participate in 100% virtual school last year. My comfort level in sending him back to in-person school is dependent on there being a required mask policy in place. If there will not be, I would like to request that virtual school again be made an option for students.

Thank you.

Zoe Kazmierski


Dear Members of the School Committee:

I would like to contribute to the discourse regarding QPS students’ (and staff) return to safe, in-person learning.

My wife and I were strong proponents for our daughter and all children to be mask free (or at least exercise the choice) for the upcoming school year. To make this happen, my wife and I took a number of steps as soon as we were eligible. (Remember that getting vaccinated in the early days required a bit of leg work and vigilance.) We made an effort to be informed about locations for vaccine distribution and appointment availability at those locations, made appointments, and then took time off work to get both doses administered for ourselves and our daughter.

Despite our best efforts to help everyone return to normal and have a mask-free or mask-optional year, two issues materialized:

1)      The Delta strain

2)      A lack of full participation in the vaccine effort.

We are very fortunate that the vaccine for the initial COVID19 strain is cross protective against the Delta strain. Cross protection only confers partial immunity and reduces the severity of the disease. The problem is no one knows who has generated a strong cross protection immune response and who has not. Because of this, to ensure protection for ourselves and others, my family masks up especially when we occupy indoor public places.

Wearing a mask offers those vaccinated additional protection from the Delta strain. It also protects the unvaccinated. For the most part those who do not plan to get vaccinated are willing to at least wear a mask and do their part to protect themselves and others. What is of concern to us as our daughter goes back to school is that there may be some students and/or staff who are not vaccinated and may choose not to wear a mask. That should not be a scenario. That is, students and staff should either be vaccinated or be required to wear a mask; or, everyone should be required to wear a mask.

There is a general uneasiness that masking will not be required, leaving students/staff more vulnerable to infection. The question is, when is it the turn of those not vaccinated and who  choose not to wear a mask to contribute to the effort? It is the least they can do to contribute to the effort we have all made to get everyone back to school safely.

In light of the fact that there is no remote option this year, we are advocating for a mask requirement for all students and staff attending QPS.

Thank you for your consideration.


Tom Crean



My name is Gail Clark and I feel that parents should have the option to either send their child to school or continue remote learning at home considering there is no clear plan of safety if some kids are wearing masks and others aren't. It's like the whole class going to the bathroom but only some are required to wash their hands. 

My child is an honor roll student and has maintained honor roll with distinction since freshman year even through the 2020 school year. I realize online learning isn't for everyone but for some it works well. 

I am not comfortable sending her to school without mask mandates considering the delta variant has proved worse than the original covid19 strain when it comes to the effect it has on children and their health. 

It also spreads much easier as well, and we have older relatives who I care for as far as grocery shopping and errands.

 It is unfair that some parents will have the option to send their children to school without masks, possibly endangering teachers and other students.

 But I am not being given the option to keep my child at home remotely to ensure the health and safety of my own child. If there are going to be rules and guidance then it should be the same for everyone, vaccinated or not. And that guidance should be mask requirements at the very minimum to prevent the spread of this virus and keep ALL staff and children as safe as possible. 

I thank you for your time. 



Dear QPS School Committee:
I am writing to address the controversy surrounding mask wearing for our younger population in the Quincy Public Schools. I have two young children of my own attending Beechwood Knoll Elementary and they are scheduled to attend this coming school year. It frightens me to death that we are not considering mandating mask wearing for our younger population with this COVID-19 virus and the Delta Variant in our midst. Cases are surging and many can be carriers of the virus even if they are vaccinated.

As I quote from a recent article from The Atlantic:
[ - by Katherine J. Wu, August 10, 2021]
“Kids remain, as they have been throughout the pandemic, at much lower risk of getting seriously sick with the coronavirus, especially compared with unvaccinated adults. But the recent rash of illnesses among the nation’s youngest is a sobering reminder of the COVID-19 adage that lower risk is not no risk. With so many children unable to access vaccines and their health contingent on those around them, parents and guardians must now navigate the reality that Delta represents a more serious danger to everyone—which means it’s a more serious danger to kids as well.”

This is highly risky for our non-vaccinated population, especially the children under the age of 12 who are not able to voice their concerns concretely. I am writing to do so for them, for my children. My children, 8 and 7 years old, respectively are not eligible for the vaccine, and as their parent and a member of the Quincy community, I am advocating for this simple and effective measure to ensure the safety and well-being of their health and of all their peers, teachers, and staff.

Please consider the minimum measure of requiring masks to be worn indoors for all staff and students at all grade levels, regardless of vaccination status. “Strongly encouraged” is not going to manage or lower the risk of spreading the virus. We need to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that students and teachers remain healthy, and that there is no disruption to learning and teaching in-person.

As cited from CNN’s article: [ - By Jen Christensen, CNN, Thu August 12, 2021]
Protecting children before vaccines
While younger children don't have the protection of the vaccine yet, others can help protect them. "If we're going to give our fighting chance to have a successful school year, we're going to need everyone who is vaccine eligible to get vaccinated and everybody masked," Dr. Peter Hotez, dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine told CNN on Monday. Physical distance, good ventilation, good hand hygiene and masks are all essential, especially as kids head back to school. "These things, while they're not ideal, we'd love to get to the point where we can vaccinate kids and hopefully pull back some of these measures," Luzuriaga said. "But we're not at that level yet."

Much care should continuously be taken with our younger population as we did last year. We are no longer hybrid in our classrooms, but we should be smarter about what we’ve learned about COVID-19 and the Delta Variant, which is still an uncertainty with its aggressive spread. Pooled-testing is not enough to prevent the spread of the virus. Masks are still needed in this next wave of the pandemic. Flu season is coming fast. We need to work together to help stop the spread of this virus more than ever. We cannot let a few unvaccinated individuals and the state’s lifted mask mandate to set us back. We can do this as a community within the city of Quincy!

Thank you for your dedication and support for our community.
Grace Young-Jae