Mask Mandates and Vaccination Rates for Ludlow Public Schools

How do mask mandates and vaccination rates effect students and teachers in Ludlow?


Rory DiVenuto, Health and Wellness Editor

In November 2021, 11 Massachusetts schools were granted permission to drop their mask mandates: Hopkinton High School, Hopkinton; Ashland High School, Ashland; Westborough High School, Westborough; Westwood High School, Westwood; Sarah Gibbons Middle School, Westborough; Algonquin Regional High School, Northborough; Norwell High School, Norwell; Medway High School, Medway; New England Academy School, Beverly; Crown-Russell School at Broccoli Hall, Sudbury; and Cotting School, Lexington.


On October 26, 2021, the Massachusetts State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) extended the COVID-19 mask mandate through January 15, 2021. This mandate requires all students and staff over the age of five to wear face masks inside all school buildings. Masks are not required but are strongly recommended for students under the age of five.


In order for the mask mandate to be removed in a school, the school must first reach an 80% vaccination rate. Following this, the school must request the mandate removal from DESE. If approval is granted, a local vote is held to determine if masks may be removed.


Ludlow High School is currently at a 62% vaccination rate (including teachers), according to Autumn Rodrigues, a nurse at Ludlow High School. With children now having the ability to get vaccinated, the vaccination rates are bound to increase. However, if Ludlow wants to remove the school mask mandate, more people must get vaccinated. 


Many students have strong opinions about removing masks, “I think it should be a choice,” says one student who wishes to remain anonymous, “If you want to wear one, then wear it, if not, don’t.”


Another student states that we should keep masks, for now—many people cannot get vaccinated yet, and masks appear to be working. These differing opinions come from conflicts over masks that started with the pandemic. Despite conflict among students, one thing remains abundantly clear: if Ludlow Schools want to remove the mask mandate, teachers and students must get vaccinated.