For the first time in a long time, many students and teachers in the state will not have to wear a face mask as the mandate is dropped.
“They are extremely excited. I'm extremely excited,” said Dr. Sharon Stoll, a neuroimmunologist at Yale who says she’s decided her two young kids will be unmasked at their school.
Starting Monday, the Lamont administration is lifting the statewide mandate with COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and at-home testing available, along with drops in cases and hospitalizations.
“We're heading in the right direction and I want parents and teachers to be reassured that this isn't us letting our guard down. But this is moving in the next logical phase of this pandemic,” said Stoll.
Dozens of school districts are making masks optional for students and staff starting Monday, with a few others beginning Tuesday. Many are also not going to require them on buses.
But other districts are keeping masks for now.
“I’m kind of nervous if it does become optional, especially for schools,” said Marializ Soto, of Hartford.
Soto is an eighth grader in Hartford which is requiring masks until at least April 1 and she says she’s gotten used to them.
“It’s kind of not that big of a deal for me. I feel like some people make it seem like it’s more of a deal than it actually is, but I feel like we should keep them,” said Soto.
Districts also keeping the face coverings for longer include Bridgeport and Waterbury.
“It’s a good idea. Kids are going to be kids,” said Alexis Soto, a dad in Hartford.
The state provided guidance to districts that if cases were to surge again, there are potential measures to take including possibly bringing back universal masking.
And Stoll says masks are like winter coats - something that can be brought out as conditions change.
“So just as easily as or just as comfortable as I feel telling them that tomorrow they don't have to wear a mask, I feel just as comfortable telling them the opposite that, you know, if there is an exposure or the risk does increase that the masks go back on,” said Stoll.
The doctor says another thing to keep in mind when deciding where or not to mask-up is if there is anyone at home or in the kid’s immediate circle that is at high risk of severe infection or hospitalization from COVID-19.