To mask or not to mask? That is the question school district officials are grappling with as the academic year winds down.
Officials are working to clarify any confusion that may exist over the state’s mask policy as parents are being encouraged to get their children vaccinated.
Several school districts have made announcements leaving little doubt where they stand: Vaccines do not mean the end of masks in the halls and classrooms.
A number of COVID restrictions were relaxed last week in New York. The state adopted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines allowing fully vaccinated people to go without masks in many settings.
But one place where the state still requires masks is schools for students pre-school through 12th grade.
School districts are making this perfectly clear. The Hudson City School District reminded families the pandemic is not over.
“Although the CDC recently changed its guidance on mask rules and social distancing for vaccinated individuals, COVID-19 is still a threat that should not be ignored just yet,” Superintendent Maria Lagana Suttmeier said. “Please continue doing your part to keep your family healthy by following the health and safety protocols, even if you are fully vaccinated.”
Germantown Central School Superintendent Benjamin Bragg said the district is preparing for the return to school in the fall. The goal, he said, is simple: A safe return for all students to in-person instruction five days a week.
“Although the CDC and New York state have lifted some restrictions, at this time, New York state still requires masks, social distancing and other safety measures in schools, regardless of a person’s vaccination status,” Bragg said.
Parents in the Chatham Central School District are reaching out with questions about mask policies, Superintendent Salvatore DeAngelo said.
“Even for vaccinated individuals, the state requires mask wearing and social distancing in the school setting,” DeAngelo said. Chatham continues to follow the COVID-19 safety measures that we have had in place throughout this school year.”
Three top educators are on the same page here. They are planning for a return to normal — or something close to it — in the immediate future. They are not looking for mandates, just common sense. The pandemic is not over. And we can all agree that nobody wants to take chances with their children’s lives.