Former New England Patriots player Matt Light said he is running for the school committee in Foxborough as way to give back to the community he’s been a part of since he started playing for Bill Belichick in 2001, and as a reaction to what said he said were mistakes in school COVID-19 policies and mask mandates.
Light’s four children have all attended Foxborough schools, “an incredible system with great teachers, great support staff,” he said.
But he was sad to see his daughter graduate in a drive-thru ceremony in 2020, and said online learning took a toll on his children.
“We wanted our kids to be able to go to school, being able to look each other in the eye and in the face and not have to worry about the masks and everything that comes with that and be in person,” he said. The kids switched to private schools without mask mandates for a while but missed their friends and eventually returned.
“We were one of many, many, many families in the Foxborough community and beyond that were disheartened by the fact that [the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] took the control away from the local towns and cities and forced the [mask] mandate statewide,” Light said, adding that he believes masks should be optional.
Foxborough removed its district wide-mask mandate on February 28, the same day the state mandate was lifted, the Sun Chronicle reported.
Public schools in Massachusetts reported 3,766 new COVID-19 cases among students and staff for the week ending Wednesday, about 16 percent more than the number reported last week, state data show.
Though it’s unclear whether schools will need to reconsider their COVID mitigation policies in the coming months and years, Light said he wants to be on the school committee to consider how to learn from what he believes were mistakes.
Joseph A. Pires and current members Robert W. Canfield III and Brent D. Ruter are also running for positions on the school committee. Foxborough residents will be able to vote for two candidates during the town’s annual election May 2, according to the town clerk.
Colleen Cronin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.