Sen. Kissel: School Mask Mandates “Should Be A Local Decision”

February 1, 2022

Sen. John A. Kissel today emphasized that school mask decisions should be made by local elected officials.

“The men and women who successfully ran for seats on our local boards of education are most familiar with the needs of local students,” Sen. Kissel said.  “These individuals are best suited to judge the needs of children from pre-K to high school. Our local leaders – our town councilors, selectmen, mayors and board of education members – should be the ones making decisions on school masks. I personally think members of local boards of education, with input from all stakeholders, especially teachers, parents and the students themselves, should make these essentially local decisions.”

Gov. Ned Lamont’s sweeping executive powers expire Feb. 15. The governor is proposing that the legislature continue the statewide emergency through a legislative act, enact provisions of 11 remaining emergency orders in state statute, and establish a process for quickly responding to future public health threats from COVID-19.

“I will examine each of the governor’s emergency orders carefully, but I have significant concerns about the statewide school mask mandate,” Sen. Kissel said. “The school mask mandate is an issue which should be reexamined, debated, and decided locally.”

The governor’s statewide school mask mandate can be read here.

Sen. Kissel noted how questions have been raised regarding the effectiveness of cloth masks, as well as the potentially negative physical and mental impacts of mandatory masks on children.

The 2022 session of the Connecticut General Assembly begins on Wednesday, Feb. 9.

Sen. Kissel serves as Ranking Senator on the legislature’s Judiciary Committee. He represents East Granby, Enfield, Somers, Suffield, Windsor Locks and parts of Granby and Windsor.