Monday marked the first day that Vermont guidance would allow schools with high vaccination rates to lift masking requirements, though few schools in the state and Northeast Kingdom meet the threshold. At the start of the school year, state officials announced their intention to recommend that schools with 80% of students vaccinated could allow students to go without masks. However, the arrival of the Delta and then Omicron surges forced the state to postpone the adoption of the plan. Just over two weeks ago, Gov. Phil Scott, Agency of Education Secretary Dan French and other officials indicated the time was right for those masking recommendations to be realized and announced Feb. 28 would be the first day for the new approach. State officials said part of the motivation for recommending that masks can be optional is for the emotional and social well-being of students. Few schools, though, meet the 80% vaccination threshold and will lift masking requirements just yet, including in the Northeast Kingdom.
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