Update on masking, effective June 7th

District update on masking, effective Monday, June 7th
Posted on 06/06/2021

Greetings Families & Staff:

Around 3 PM Friday, June 4th, a memo from NYS Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker set off a firestorm for schools. It was intended for the CDC director and sought clarification on the discrepancy between guidelines between summer camps and schools. The letter ended with a declaration about changing the masking mandates in schools and asked for comment. All this led to the news spinning as if there would be no requirement for masking in schools on Monday, June 7th. That is not the case.

At this time, we have NOT received any official communication from the NYSDOH or governor to change the masking requirement. We now expect a change to come and are working with our staff and you to prepare, but until then, masking indoors remains a requirement per NYSDOH. As stated in Zucker's letter, when this change becomes official, schools may decide how to best proceed, including maintaining stricter standards. This decision must consider the local infection rates, the community's disposition, and any impact the change will have on learning. To further clarify this and eliminate any confusion, NYSED sent all schools the message you see included in the screenshot below. The existing mask order remains until further notice from the NYSDOH.

With that said, we are making a change regarding the requirement for outdoor masking effective on Monday, June 7th. This change ties to the August 2020 NYS school reopening guidance, which states students and staff unable to tolerate a mask medically, are not subject to the requirement. Considering the high heat forecasted for June, students, staff, and visitors may choose to remove their masks outdoors on school grounds. This change includes during physical education class, recess, class activities, spectating at athletic events, and other events. Until the NYS Public High School Athletic Association changes its mask order, student-athletes must remain masked during competition as previously defined. We continue to recommend maintaining social distance and respecting those who may choose to remain masked outdoors despite this change.

Together, we have navigated the uncertainties and change this year with a level head and grounded in the best available information. We will continue to make this our practice and be diligent in gathering input and facts before making decisions. We will consult with our staff, community, and local health officials but will work swiftly to ensure clear and timely communication to you. Let's commit to the process, keep our heads, and remember that we all have the same end goal, making wise choices to ensure our children's health, safety, and academic success.

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In partnership,
Aaron Johnson signature

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools


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