Some Local Schools Still Make Students Wear Masks. When Will It End?
New York State announced on Friday, it will lift the requirement for students K-12 starting Monday, however, not all schools are ready.
Several area schools in the Mohawk Valley announced over the weekend that students will still be required to mask-up for the time being, until they can assess the situation and decide how to move forward for the last 3 weeks of classes.
"Both indoors and outdoors, students, campers and staff who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks," Health Commissioner Howard Zucker wrote to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "If there is any data or science that you are aware of that contradicts moving forward with this approach, please let me know as soon as possible," Zucker added.
He said stricter standards can be imposed by schools and camps if they choose.
Sauquoit Valley Central School District sent an alert to parents and students over the weekend that keeps the mask mandate in place for the time being.
"The District is aware of the news media's report on Friday of a potential change to the mask mandate in schools effective Monday, June 7th. At this time, this communication is written to clarify that there has not been any official legal change in the mask mandate from the New York State Education Department, New York State Department of Health or Governor Cuomo. The June 4th letter by Health Commissioner Zucker reported by the media on Friday was written to the CDC to determine if the CDC has any objection to relaxing its mask mandate. However, unless and until written guidance or an Executive Order is issued by the State, all students, staff and visitors must continue to wear masks while on school property," according to the district letter.
New Hartford interim Superintendent David Langone sent a similar message over the weekend.
"Unfortunately the guidance was shared Friday afternoon leaving little time for schools to plan accordingly. Students and staff will still be required to wear masks while in the New Hartford Central School District until further notice as guidance is reviewed," he said.
As of Sunday evening, the mask mandate at Utica City Schools remains in effect. School Board member Joseph Hobika Jr. said the district will be reviewing plans going forward this week.
In Herkimer County, the Little Falls City School District will also keep their mask mandate in effect for classes on Monday, according to District Superintendent Keith Levatino.
"I have already set up our medical team meeting for tomorrow," said Levatino. "For now, the mask policy will be followed, he said."
New York State Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C-Glenville) released a statement on Friday stating that he's been calling for the mandate to be lifted and clearer guidance to schools should have been communicated.
"Continuing to mandate this would result in their children not being able to go to school and negatively impacting their end-of-the-school-year experience,” he said.
Clinton Central School District also announced to parents and students over the weekend that all staff, visitors and students will be required to wear masks on Monday.
Students and parents should check their school district website for an update, or assume the mandate at their school still exists, for now.