As we communicated with you on Friday afternoon, our district is aware of the letter that the NYS Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky that day regarding new COVID-19 guidance for the wearing of masks in schools across the state. While Dr. Zucker’s intent has already been publicized in various media outlets, these changes have not been formally communicated to school districts and we have not received updated state guidance.
Earlier today, we received an email from the New York State Education Department clarifying that the intent of this letter was to obtain a response from the CDC regarding differing standards for summer camps and schools.
At this time, we are awaiting official guidance from the New York State Department of Health or the State Education Department on mask changes. This is expected on Monday. The school district will review and evaluate the guidance before considering or making any changes to its COVID-19 mask protocols.
Following discussion with the state education department, the county health department and school districts in the Questar III BOCES region, school mask requirements remain unchanged at this time.
We recognize that the temperature is going to rise this week and we shall provide teachers and staff with the discretion to extend mask breaks in class while students are seated. Mask wearing will also be relaxed outside during recess and physical education while following all other COVID-19 mitigation protocols including physical distancing. Please continue to follow all COVID-19 mitigation protocols, including social distancing, handwashing, and the wearing of masks on buses as these have worked throughout the school year and have allowed us to maintain our schools and offices open. Students should bring masks to school tomorrow and wear them on the school bus in the morning.
The health and safety of our students and staff remains our top priority as we prepare to finish one school year and plan for another. We thank you for your patience as we await formal guidance that will allow us to make any permanent changes to the mask protocols.