The Valley Central School District understands your concerns in regards to the wearing of masks as the temperature during these last days of school begins to increase. Mask requirements indoors are not a local decision and school districts are not at liberty to disregard directives from the NYS Department of Health and the NYS Education Department. We must work in collaboration with these agencies, our school medical director, our board of education and our district attorneys when considering any changes to protocol. The following are the current protocols that Valley Central is following:
- As stated in our letter that went out on June 6, if a student or staff member cannot tolerate the heat with their mask on indoors, they may remove it, as long as they stay 6 feet from other people. Yesterday Governor Cuomo announced that indoor mask requirements have not changed. Therefore, we will continue to follow this protocol until notified otherwise.
- Last night, we received notification that the NYS Department of Heath updated their guidance: Updated NYSDOH Guidance. As of yesterday, facemasks are not required to be worn outdoors on school grounds, including during outdoor school sports. No student, teacher, staff member or visitor may be prevented from wearing an acceptable facemask voluntarily on school grounds. This guidance reiterates the Governor’s announcement that indoor mask requirements (including while students are being transported by bus, e.g., entering, exiting and seated) have not changed.
Although the indoor mask requirements have not changed, Valley Central has placed the following procedure in place:
- Teachers will continue to allow frequent mask breaks, as much as needed, when students are six feet apart. Faculty and staff may do the same.
- Students are physically distanced as much as possible to allow for these frequent mask breaks.
- Teachers will continue to engage in outdoor learning opportunities as much as possible in order to provide students with more time when they can go without a mask.
The Valley Central School District has read all of your emails asking for the removal of masks. While we empathize with your concerns, please understand that we must comply with the current regulations and guidance. The safety and security of our students and our staff are of primary importance. The procedure above will allow us to comply with the guidance and regulations and at the same time do all we can to meet the needs of our community.
Thank you for your continued support of the Valley Central School District.