NEW HAVEN – Students and staff in the New Haven Public Schools will continue to operate under a mask mandate, with no clear end date, the Board of Education agreed.

The school board opted to stay the course after a presentation from City Health Director Maritza Bond, who reported that infection rates in the district were climbing upward and student vaccination rates remained relatively low in a district where 40 percent of the student population have health conditions that put them at high risk.

“We are asking that we maintain our mask mandate and reassess after April spring break,” Bond said.

Mask-wearing in public schools in Connecticut became a local decision as of the end of February, and New Haven at the time chose to require students and staff to continue wearing masks.

At the time, Hamden, Waterbury, Bridgeport and Hartford also opted to keep the mandate to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. All but New Haven since have gone mask optional.

Mayor Justin Elicker, who also sits on the school board, previously had instituted an executive order requiring masks be worn in schools as well as City Hall and other municipal buildings. It remains in effect.

Elicker Monday said he had confidence in Bond’s recommendations and called it premature to name an end date for the mandate.

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