Thank you to the many people who emailed me over the last 24 hours and who shared their perspective regarding the state mask mandate. I have read all the emails, understand the concerns that have been raised related to this topic, and truly value the feedback of our community. In an effort to share the same information with everybody in a timely manner, I have decided to send a District-wide communication.
Throughout the pandemic, like the more than 700 school districts across New York State, we have followed laws, regulations, and guidance from the New York State Education Department (NYSED), the state Department of Health (DOH), the Governor, and the CDC. As a public school district, we have to follow the mandates and regulations that we are provided.
We understand that some school districts in the state may have decided to make mask wearing optional. We are also aware of the decision yesterday by a New York State Judge in Nassau County holding the mask requirement invalid. However, that decision was appealed, and the appellate court just rendered a decision from the hearing that was held this afternoon concerning the mask mandate. The Judge has determined that a stay will remain in effect until at least January 28, 2022 at which time an oral argument is scheduled on the pending motion. Therefore, the lower court decision is not going into effect at this time, and the DOH rule requiring masks in schools remains in effect until the Appellate Division hears and makes a determination on the pending motion.
In short, masks continue to be required in schools at least through Friday. It is unknown if a final decision will be issued on Friday or sometime after.
As always, we will continue to monitor all aspects of the pandemic and communicate any changes.
Again, thank you for the emails and for taking the time to communicate with me.
Dr. James Franchini
Superintendent of Schools
Averill Park CSD