Update Regarding Masks in School

Good Afternoon Red Jacket Families and Staff:

I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful weekend weather. 

Friday afternoon we received a copy of the letter from the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) to the CDC saying that starting on Monday, June 7th, NY State intends to issue guidance strongly encouraging mask wearing for students and staff who are indoors and who are not vaccinated, but not requiring it.  According to the NYSDOH, students and staff who are vaccinated do not have to wear masks. This letter, however, is an open letter from New York State exploring the issue and sharing the State's intent.  It is not actually guidance. Additionally, Governor Cuomo's office has not issued any updated guidance or executive orders at this time.

In the meantime, we are not making any changes for indoor masking requirements until we receive official guidance. 

Beginning tomorrow however, we will implement the recreational guidance that has been released by the New York State Department of Health.

Students will be permitted to remove their masks while engaging in outdoor recess and/or physical education classes. While outside for recess and physical education, students should try to maintain physical distancing of 6' or more, when possible. It is understood that this is not always possible with outdoor physical movement activities.  

This change in practice does not include an ability to remove masks if the teacher takes their class outside, as it is specific to physical movement and recreation in an outdoor space. Teachers who take their class outside, however, may allow students with generous mask breaks, as long as they are spaced 6' or more apart.

The recreational guidance does not include adults' ability to remove their masks or include any other changes in practice specific to mask wearing. It also does not pertain to athletics and extracurricular activities, as they have their own set of guidance from the State, which we must follow.

At all other times, masks must continue to be worn on our campus, until we receive updated guidance.

The recreational guidance provides a little more leniency. However, we are hopeful that new guidance will be forthcoming especially with warmer weather.

We are reviewing the NYSDOH's recent letter and its implications. After meeting with our County Administrators and Local Department of Health tomorrow, I will be issuing an update to our staff and the community regarding next steps should more information become available.

With Red Jacket PRIDE & Gratitude,
Charlene Dehn
Superintendent of Schools