Late Tuesday night, the New York State Department of Health released new COVID guidance for school districts and BOCES across the state. This included an FAQ. School superintendents met with county departments of health yesterday to discuss the latest guidance and how it will impact our students and staff.
As a reminder, masks are no longer required at school or on school buses/vans. However, the State Health Department recommends students, staff, and teachers wear masks when:
- They feel more comfortable wearing a mask for personal reasons.
- They were in the same room within the school as someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer and were thus exposed or potentially exposed, when group contact tracing is used.
- They are known to have been exposed to COVID in any setting within the previous 10 days.
- They are moderately-to-severely immunocompromised and have discussed the need to mask with their healthcare provider(s).
Individuals are welcome to wear a mask if they choose to do so. Our school community has shown great resiliency over the past two years, and we expect everyone to continue to practice civility and tolerance surrounding these individual choices.
The new state guidance requires us to comply with three requirements. This includes:
- A positive COVID case must follow the isolation protocol and mask for days 6-10 upon return to school.
- Unvaccinated staff must continue to be tested weekly.
- The district must report cases daily to the NYS COVID Report Card.
All other items within the state guidance document are recommendations, which we will follow. We urge everyone to adhere to the recommendations as well to help keep our buildings a safe learning environment for all. We will continue existing COVID mitigation strategies, including cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing when possible and increased ventilation in classrooms. Students and staff are also encouraged to continue to practice healthy hygiene and to stay home when sick.
Thank you for your continued patience, cooperation, and understanding.
Dr. Mary Yodis