At a press conference this afternoon, Governor Hochul announced the end of the statewide mask mandate in schools and on school buses effective Wednesday, March 2. She cited declining metrics for making this decision, including a decrease in COVID cases and hospitalizations, as well as new guidance issued by the CDC on Friday.
As a result, masks are still required to be worn in school on Monday and Tuesday as we work to implement this new school guidance. Starting Wednesday, masks will be a personal choice in our schools under most circumstances. With the Governor making this announcement over the weekend comes many questions we are currently working to get answered. We will share additional information on the new guidance and how it will impact our schools as soon as it is available.
We ask parents and guardians to speak with their child/ren about personal choice and respect for each other’s personal decisions. We will not tolerate any bullying of students or staff based on their decision to either wear a mask or go without.
We understand that this announcement may cause a mixed reaction from students, parents, and staff. Throughout the pandemic, we have relied on guidelines set forth by the NYS Department of Health and NYS Education Department in partnership with our county health department.
Conditions are improving locally and across the state. Test positivity is now at the lowest rate since last fall and there is an increased number of students and staff who have been vaccinated.
Our schools also distributed at-home test kits to staff and families – a mitigation tool that was scarcely available in the past. We encourage families to test their child/ren this evening prior to sending them back to school tomorrow, February 28, and again on Wednesday. We have asked all staff to do the same. Anyone testing positive should isolate at home and contact their school’s health office.
Thank you for your continued patience, cooperation, and understanding as we work through this most recent development.
Dr. Ronel Cook
Superintendent of Schools