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New York State Mandates Face Coverings/Masks Inside All Schools

On August 27, 2021, New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, with support from Governor Hochul, exercised his authority under public health law and mandated that any person over the age of two in all New York State schools must wear a face mask/covering indoors, regardless of vaccination status.  

According to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), as long as social distancing of at least six feet can be maintained, face coverings/masks do not need to be worn when eating, drinking, singing or playing a wind instrument. The NYSDOH later clarified that position by stating, “because of the importance of in-person learning, schools should implement physical distancing to the extent possible within their structures, but should not exclude students from in-person learning to keep a minimum distance requirement.” As a result, while face coverings/masks are mandatory and all students can return to in-person instruction, band, chorus and physical education classes, along with lunch periods, will be offered under pre-COVID-19 structures.

In early August, New York State announced it would not issue new COVID-19 guidelines/protocols for K-12 in-person learning prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year. Instead, local school districts were directed to develop and implement their own guidelines/protocols. However, New York State did recommend school districts follow guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local health departments.  

In consultation with members of the school community, including students, parents and staff, as well as state and local health department officials, school physician and school attorney, the district made changes to its COVID-19 Reopening Plan first created in August 2020 for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

The changes were formally adopted by the Board of Education on August 24, 2021.

For a summary of changes to the District COVID-19 Reopening Plan, click here.

To view the COVID-19 Reopening Plan in its entirety, click here.