New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state will continue to require face masks in schools and provide test kits to all K-12 students to use after the February school break as strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
During a Feb. 9 press conference, Hochul said state officials will reassess the mask mandate for schools in early March. She said a decision to extend or end the mandate will be made at that time based on such metrics as the number of new cases, percent positivity, hospital admissions, pediatric hospitalizations, vaccination rates and global trends.
“The numbers are trending in the right direction, and there is an end [to mask wearing] in sight,” Hochul said during the briefing.
While the state lifted its mask requirement for indoor businesses as of today, Feb. 10, Hochul said that the mandate remains in place for schools because it is a setting where there is a high concentration of individuals.
Therefore, all Fayetteville-Manlius School District staff, students and school visitors, regardless of vaccination status, continue to be required to wear a face mask while in school buildings.
The district will update the community when any changes are made to the district’s school reopening plan.
COVID-19 at-home test kits available; kits to be sent home Feb. 17
The district has a supply of at-home COVID-19 antigen test kits that are available to staff members, students and families and will be receiving more from the state that will be sent home with students on Feb. 17. While it is not required, Hochul is encouraging families to test their children for the virus at the end of February break and again three days after their return to school.
If a family needs to test their student after vacation and has already used the tests distributed on Feb. 17, parents and guardians should call the main office of their child’s school after Feb. 28 to request an additional test kit. The kits can then be sent home with students or picked up by a parent or guardian during regular school daytime hours.
The test kits are free for families and can be used at any time.