A person carrying groceries turns the corner onto State Street in downtown Ellsworth on March 3. Ellsworth's school board will revisit its policy making masks mostly optional in its schools for the upcoming academic year. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

Ellsworth’s school board will join others in Maine that have reconsidered their masking policies in light of rising COVID cases and the contagious delta variant. 

The Ellsworth School Department will hold a special meeting Thursday night to further discuss its school reopening plan, including whether to tighten masking policies. 

Earlier this month, the city’s school board passed a policy that would make masking optional except in high-traffic areas such as hallways, where masks would be required, said Teresa Austin, an administrative assistant in the Ellsworth School Department superintendent’s office. 

The masking policy will be discussed at the Thursday meeting, according to Austin and a copy of the meeting agenda. 

The meeting venue was moved from Ellsworth City Hall to Ellsworth Elementary Middle School’s cafeteria because of the large turnout anticipated. Masks will be required at that meeting, and chairs will be spaced three feet apart to account for social distancing. 

Ellsworth’s school board is one of several to reconsider optional masking policies after parents and teachers expressed concern about potential spread in schools. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend that masks be worn in schools regardless of vaccination status or local transmission rates. 

Ellsworth’s special meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday night.

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Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.