The Silver Lake Regional School Committee met in-person on Thursday, Oc.er 21. Chair Paula Hatch brought up vaccination rates for the various schools in the district saying that November 1 is the deadline for reaching an 80 percent vaccination threshold in order to unmask in school. Superintendent Jill Proulx said that the vaccination rate as of October 18 for students and staff combined at the middle school stands at just over 59 percent. The high school was slightly higher at 64 percent. Proulx said that student nurses are most comfortable with proof of vaccination via a vaccination card as opposed to a letter of attestation from individuals as required by the State system. Currently nurses obtain vaccination status from The Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS).
Committee member Summer Schmaling, who is also on the Halifax Elementary School Committee, said, “I just don’t know that everyone is aware that there is a case before the Supreme Court in Massachusetts challenging the authority of DESE to institute a sweeping, universal mask mandate… so that may also change the outcome of what happens moving forward.” Committee member Eric Crone said that given the pending Supreme Court case as well as the fact that the district is well below the vaccination threshold, he would recommend holding off on making any decisions regarding proof of vaccination. Committee member Gordon Laws said he would like to see the vaccination rates published to the parents to “see if that influences behavior at all.” Proulx said that a chart could be added to the Pandemic Resource Center that would be updated bi-weekly to indicate vaccination rates.
President of the Silver Lake Education Association (SLEA) John Lay began his report saying, “It really feels like things are back to normal except for the masks,” Lay said. He said that over 80 percent of their membership are in favor of the mask mandate ending but noted that most of those want the vaccination rate to be 80 percent before that happening. He said that he was in favor of publishing the vaccination rates in the hopes of encouraging parents to consider vaccinating students. Lay also said that other districts are taking a more active role in encouraging students to get vaccinated. He acknowledged that the decision to get vaccinated is a personal choice but said that the school does promote other personal choices such as healthy eating.
Committee member Leslie-Ann McGee said she believes that the School Committee should be advocating