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This school committee might sue the state over mask mandates

R.I. public school students will have to wear masks when they return to classes.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

This article originally appeared in the Rhode Map newsletter. If you would like to get the newsletter as a convenient e-mail Monday through Friday, just sign up here.

Happy Monday! I’m Dan McGowan and I was pleasantly surprised by how calm people were at the grocery story prior to the storm. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Coronavirus updates

Rhode Island has a high level of transmission: 194.7 total new cases per 100K population in the past 7 days.

Fully vaccinated: 674,452 (63.5 percent of all residents)

New cases (as of Friday): 296

Test-positive rate (as of Friday): 3 percent


More stats from the R.I. Department of Health

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Leading off

All public school students in Rhode Island will be required to wear masks when they return to class in the coming weeks, but at least one community is considering legal action to block the state mandate.

The Glocester School Committee is scheduled to meet in executive session Monday at 6:30 p.m. to consider litigation against the state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education regarding its vote last week to block the Department of Education from accepting any school reopening plans that don’t include a mask requirement.

Governor Dan McKee subsequently declared a new state of emergency related to Delta variant of the coronavirus, and issued an executive order requiring masks in schools.

In an e-mail on Sunday, Glocester School Committee Chairman Jonathan Burlingame confirmed that the committee still intends to discuss a potential lawsuit at its Monday meeting.

Burlingame said the committee intends to discuss both the governor’s executive order and the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education’s vote on mask mandates.

Although health experts have urged state and local governments to adopt mask policies, there are some critics who question the science behind those kinds of mandates in schools.


Last week, New York Magazine published a story that suggested the “best practices for mask use in schools — elementary schools in particular — are much less obvious than CDC guidance and news headlines about keeping schools safe might have you believe.”

The Globe in Rhode Island

By the time Henri made landfall in Westerly as a tropical storm around 12:15 p.m., Rhode Island residents had braced themselves for the worst. But the worst never came. Read more.

Power outages persisted in Rhode Island into Sunday evening as Tropical Storm Henri approached, then made landfall near Westerly. Read more.

Relatives of the teen arrested in a July BB gun incident say they want justice, not defunding the police. Read more.

This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Alexandra Salisbury, who co-founded (with her mom) Premier Picnics, which brings luxury picnic pop-ups to Rhode Island’s state parks and picturesque grounds. E-mail Alexa Gagosz with suggestions for this weekly interview. Read more.

More on BostonGlobe.com

Two separate disease forecasting teams are predicting that COVID-19 deaths will rise in Massachusetts and across the country for weeks to come, as the grim flood of new infections and steady rise in hospitalizations that began around July 4 continues. Read more.

My colleague Christopher Muther writes that Matt Damon, Provincetown COVID cases, and a fractious Boston Pride are just a few of the things that ruined what should have been an LGBTQ-tastic summer. Read more.


The Red Sox defense has been downright awful, as Saturday night’s performance showed. Read more.

What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ The West End Community Center in Providence is hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at 5 p.m.

The Providence Sustainability Commission meets at 4 p.m. Here’s the agenda.

⚓ The Cranston City Council meets at 7 p.m. Here’s the agenda.

My latest column

Last week, I suggested that Governor McKee needed to issue a statewide mask mandate for public schools. A few days later, he did.

If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all my columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.

Rhode Island Report podcast

My colleague Amanda Milkovits interviews Jeffrey Scott Hornoff, who spent more than six years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Listen to all of our podcasts here.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.