During the comment period, resident Christie Martin advocated strongly for continued support of the mask mandate. One of her young children had experienced a close exposure to someone at school who tested positive. The student was quarantined over the weekend and afterward everyone tested negative. Her husband had had Covid in the spring followed by the whole family and nine months later he is still recovering. She sees masks as a necessary precaution.
Masks for ages 3-5, though not required by the Centers for Disease Control, are highly recommended. Board member Ann Kiessling wondered why Bedford would choose a mandate for this age group that exceeds that required for daycare centers. Heidi Porter, Director of Health and Human Services, reminded the Board that they had purposely chosen a more conservative mandate, based on the local environment, not just the Town statistics. “Remember we have a town population of around 14,000, depending on whose number you use, but our daytime population is closer to 30,000. That means that 15,000 people come into town from other towns, even other states, and may bring the virus with them.”
She recommended that everyone read the Covid dashboard on Superintendent Contad’s webpage with detailed information about how the schools are managing cases.
It was noted that Middlesex County has had 120 cases reported over the last two weeks, an increase.
No changes in the mandate were considered, though close monitoring will continue.
The Select Board is expected to make a final recommendation on Monday, Sept. 13 about continuing Bedford Day activities. The Board of Health agreed to place their consideration and recommendation early on their agenda for the same evening, so it can be relayed to the Select Board as they make their decision.