Mascenic mask mandate ongoing as at least 10 COVID cases active in district

  • (Left to right) Sarah Cohen, Carl Toko, Dave Alger, and Matt Lacoe hold signs to wave at kids arriving to Highbridge Elementary School. —Julia Stinneford

  • (Left to right) Carl Toko, Dave Alger, and Matt Lacoe hold signs to wave at kids arriving to Highbridge Elementary School. —Julia Stinneford

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    Dave Alger and Carl Toko displaying a tarp spray-painted to say "Have a happy day." —Julia Stinneford

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/13/2021 1:40:52 PM

Mascenic’s mask mandate continued into its second week as COVID-19 cases remain above 10 district-wide, and New Ipswich residents responded to local backlash by holding a counter-protest at Highbridge Elementary School.

Superintendent Chris Martin said that cases have increased since last week, declining to confirm the exact number but stating that they are above 10. Last week, when the mask mandate was implemented following the guidelines of the district’s accepted reopening framework from August, Martin said that it wasn’t indefinite and the district would continue to revisit the district’s numbers and assess when masks can be taken off.

“We are masking right now to keep everyone in school,” Martin said last week. 

Martin also said that responses were mixed, with emails and phone calls being split evenly between those who were happy and those were angry about the mask mandate. There was also a protestor who stood outside Highbridge Elementary School on Thursday and Friday last week.

Some New Ipswich residents decided over the weekend to stage a counter-protest to buoy the spirits of the children. The group set up camp at the end of the school’s driveway Monday morning with signs that said things like “Be kind” and “Have a fun day.”

“We were looking for something positive to do,” said resident Sarah Cohen. 

Dave Alger said that he was there to support kids like his grandkids that attend Highbridge. “It’s about the kids, I’m sorry,” he said.

“It’s gotta be tough on the kids, all this,” said Carl Toko. The goal, he said, was to support the school’s children.

Martin said that although she supported the positive message of the group, she was “never excited” to see protestors of any kind on school property.

“I’m grateful for the kindness that these folks showed this morning,” she said, “but I’d like us to simply focus on doing the business of the district.”


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