Masks will be optional for all students in the Rochester School District when classes begin on Sept. 1.

Superintendent of Schools Kyle Repucci said on Friday that the school board made that decision on Thursday night.

"We'll review it on a month-by-month basis," Repucci said.

Last academic year, students in the district had to wear masks.

There are about 4,200 children in the school district. High school students from Wakefield go to Spaulding High School, Repucci said.

Maple Street Magnet School started classes on Aug. 9 and masks were optional for those K-5 students. There are approximately 115 children at that school.

What is going on in some other Seacoast communities?

Stephanie Seacord is the public information officer in Portsmouth. She said on Thursday that at the school board's meeting on Tuesday half of the parents who showed up to speak were in support of mandatory masking while the other half were against it.

The discussion begins at about 10:40 on this video:

Board members decided that their mask policy for students would be based on the level of community transmission in Rockingham County.

If there is substantial transmission, all students in grades K-12 will be required to wear masks indoors.

If there is moderate transmission, only students in grades K-8 will be required to wear masks. Children under the age of 12 still cannot be vaccinated.

If there is minimal transmission, masks will be recommended but not required for K-8 students.

At the Oyster River Cooperative School District in Durham, the district will be requiring the wearing of masks within each of the school facilities by faculty, staff, students and visitors.

In Dover, members of the school board voted on their plan during a meeting on Monday night. High school students will not be required to wear masks, but it will be highly recommended that they do so, regardless of vaccination status.

Elementary and middle school students will be required to wear masks.

School Board Chair Amanda Russell said changes to their plans can be made at any meeting, and that may be required depending on what the numbers say at any particular point in time.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at

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