Mislead? New York State School Masking Guidelines Are Not Changing Monday
After a district-wide announcement was made on Friday afternoon regarding the use of masks, both indoors and outdoors, at schools, it appeared that it was going to be at the discretion of Wappingers Central School District students, faculty, and staff, whether or not to mask up beginning Monday June 7th.
As of Sunday June 6th, this has changed.
Following guidance from a letter issued by the New York State Department of Health on June 4th, WCSD announced that masks were NOT going to be required in outdoor settings, and would be optional indoors, beginning tomorrow, Monday June 7th.
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon, around 3:20pm, when another district-wide email went out with the title 'URGENT MESSAGE', essentially saying the updated masking guidelines shared on Friday were solely to 'obtain a response.'
After the initial email message that was sent out Sunday around 3:20pm, there have been additional emails from the district, automated phone messages, and text messages encouraging parents to check the urgent alert on the district website.
The updated guidance provided in all messaging is as follows:
SED (the New York State Education Department) 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.
Needless to say, many parents of the Hudson Valley are not pleased with this announcement, especially with the forecasted high temperatures for Monday. Some parents are suggesting that we keep our kids home from school, while others are encouraging us to send the kids in, maskless, to prove a point.
While the information provided here is specific to the Wappingers Central School District, the guidelines are statewide, and many of the other local school districts have posted similar messages on their k-12 district webpages.
In a statement on his facebook page on Sunday afternoon Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro expressed his feelings on the matter:
New York intentionally misled people causing unnecessary confusion, conflict and chaos. The State must end the confusion and restore local authority. This decision should be put in the hands parents who know their children and circumstances best.