June 6: Regarding Masks – from COVID-19 Coordinator

On Friday, June 4, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, issued a letter  to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding New York State’s intent to align mask guidance for school settings with the CDC’s guidance for youth camps beginning Monday, June 7, 2021. In this letter, districts had been advised that they could waive the mask mandate unless the CDC advised of contrary science or data. 

However, a short time ago today, the State Education Department sent the following message to superintendents and other school stakeholders:

“As of September 1, 2020, school districts were permitted to reopen, under Executive Order 202.60, “subject to adherence to Department of Health issued guidance and directives.” These have included the submission of reopening plans to address, among other things, distancing and health requirements.

SED has been in communication with Executive staff regarding the attached letter from Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Commissioner of Health. According to conversations with Executive staff, the intent of this letter was to obtain a response from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding differing standards for summer camps and schools; it has not changed any existing arrangements. Therefore, schools should continue to operate under their existing procedures until further notice. No changes have been, or will be, made by the Executive until after Monday June 7 to afford the CDC an opportunity to respond to the letter.”

We are aware that the extreme heat may make it medically intolerable for students or staff to wear their masks. If a student or staff member cannot tolerate the heat with their mask on, they may remove it as long as they stay 6 feet from other people.  Valley Central will notify the community about any changes to the mask mandate once they have been finalized.