NORTH ADAMS — Masks will not be required universally at McCann Technical School this school year, unless guidance from the state changes.
At a meeting Thursday night, the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District School Committee voted 10-1 to follow masking recommendations from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, according to Superintendent James Brosnan.
The DESE and the state Department of Public Health "strongly recommend" masking for unvaccinated students in seventh grade or above, all unvaccinated staff and all unvaccinated visitors. Schools can allow vaccinated students to unmask, the guidance recommends.
“We've always followed their guidance," Brosnan said Friday morning. "We're going to follow that guidance no matter what it is.”
It will be on the honor system to determine who is vaccinated and can unmask, he said.
Though the state does not recommend universal masking for K-12 students regardless of vaccination status, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does.
Brosnan noted that the regional district differs from other county districts because it only has a high school, so, everyone is old enough to get vaccinated and state recommendations are uniform.
The technical school serves Adams, North Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Monroe, Florida, Williamstown, Savoy and Lanesborough.
Brosnan said he did not know what percentage of students was vaccinated, but that the school would encourage it and ask students voluntarily to disclose their vaccination status.
In Berkshire County, 68 percent of those ages 12 to 15 have gotten at least one shot, and 69 percent of those 16 to 19 have gotten at least one dose, according to state DPH figures updated in mid-August.
The masking policy could change, Brosnan said. If the DESE changes its recommendations, Brosnan said that the district will shift its rules, too.
"If it changes for masks," he said, "we will wear masks."