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June 6, 2021 NYS Mask Requirement Update

Click here for a letter dated June 7, 2021 from Superintendent Cimato following an announcement today by Gov. Cuomo regarding NYS mask requirements in schools:

June 7, 2021 Mask Update

The NYS Education Department communicated the following guidance for schol districts on June 6, 2021:

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.

On Friday, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker released a letter he sent to the Director of the CDC regarding a potential change to the use of masks in school. In the letter, Dr. Zucker indicated that the state intended to align its end of the school year mask guidance with the mask guidance previously released for summer camps. In both settings, as a minimum state-wide guidance the NYSDOH is considering:

  • Indoors, mask use will be strongly encouraged but not required for students, campers, and staff/teachers/counselors who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Outdoors, masks are not required; students, campers, and staff/teachers/counselors who are not fully vaccinated are “encouraged” to wear a mask in certain higher-risk circumstances.
  • Both indoors and outdoors, students, campers, and staff who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks.

The Ken-Ton School District has consistently followed the health and safety regulations released by the NYSDOH over the course of the pandemic. Importantly, until NYSDOH fulfills its responsibility to update the state guidance according to its June 4 letter to the CDC, the current guidance remains in effect, including the current mask mandate.

All students and staff must continue to follow our current practice of wearing masks as we await a NYSDOH statement officially changing the mask guidance. We appreciate your continued patience while we wait for the state to communicate with us.