School Committee Approves Making Masks Optional in Watertown Schools

Almost two years to the day after schools shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Watertown students will be able to go to class without wearing a face mask. Monday night, the School Committee approved Superintendent Dede Galdston’s plan to make masks optional and a set of metrics to decide if they will be required in the future. Galston noted that March 13, 2020 was the date that school in Massachusetts closed in the beginning of the Pandemic, and two years later students will be able to choose not to wear a mask. She also stressed that teachers and staff will emphasize that students will be respected and accepted regardless of whether or not they choose to wear a face mask. The change in mask rules will be finalized this week, Galdston said, after the latest student and staff testing results are received.

Committee to Study Vocational Education Finalized, Will Get Help from Consultant

The ad hoc committee that will study vocational and career education available to Watertown students will have four members of the public, and a consultant will assist members. The Vocational, Technical, and Career Education Options Ad Hoc Committee will have a total of nine members, and will meet monthly from February to June. Ultimately, it will come up with recommendations to the School Committee. The committee was formed after access to Minuteman High School was reduced for Watertown students after the vocational school opened its new campus in September 2019. Watertown is not a member district, but instead pays tuition for students to attend the school located in Lexington.

Watertown’s Inauguration Ceremony Canceled Due to Increasing COVID Cases

Watertown City Hall

The Watertown inauguration ceremony has been cancelled due to increasing cases of COVID-19, but the newly-elected officials will still be sworn-in on Jan. 3. City Council President Mark Sideris announced the cancellation on Tuesday. “It is with great regret and with an abundance of caution that we will be cancelling the inauguration that was scheduled for Jan. 3rd,” Sideris said in a statement.

John Portz Says Farewell to School Committee After 16 Years, Also Served on Town Council

Northeastern UniversityJohn Portz retired from the School Committee in December after 16 years. He also served eight years as a Town Councilor. School Committee Chair John Portz oversaw his final meeting earlier this month, ending not only 16 years on the School Committee but more than 25 years serving the residents of Watertown. At the Dec. 4 meeting, Portz’s colleagues paid tribute to his dedication to the students of Watertown, his steady leadership, and for focusing on working as a team.

Watertown Inauguration Will Take Place at the Mosesian Center in January

Watertown’s newly elected officials will be sworn in at an inauguration ceremony to be held at the Mosesian Center for the Arts. The inauguration includes the City Council President, eight City Councilors, three members of the School Committee and three members of the Board of Library Trustees. The ceremony is free and open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. The City of Watertown sent out the following announcement:

The City of Watertown requests the honor of your presence to attend and participate in the Inauguration of the City Council, School Committee, and Library Board of Trustees, on Monday, the third of January, Two Thousand and Twenty-Two, at the Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts located at 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, Massachusetts, at Ceremony at Seven O’clock in the evening.