You may be aware that a State Supreme Court judge in Nassau County recently ruled against Gov. Kathy Hochul’s statewide mask mandate. This differs from an earlier decision made by the Supreme Court in Albany County which upheld the governor’s mandate.
We received an email last evening from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) informing us that the state plans to appeal the Nassau County decision and that schools must continue to follow the mask rule at this time.
The governor’s appeal was heard at 2 p.m. today and a ruling is anticipated either later today or tomorrow at the latest.
At this time, there is no change to the mask protocols we have been following at F-M. To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our school community, students, staff and visitors to our schools will be expected to wear masks while they are indoors on campus.
While there are differing viewpoints on whether or not to wear masks, the district’s reopening plan clearly stipulates that masks are required indoors. At the beginning of this school year, families made their decision on whether to have their children return to full-time instruction, participate in the OCM BOCES Virtual Learning Academy or homeschool their child.
To pivot because of a lower court ruling from Long Island that has no jurisdictional authority in Onondaga County, without hearing the official ruling of the Appellate Division, would mean altering the reopening plan that had already been approved.
That being said, we will continue to follow the guidelines of the NYSED and New York State Department of Health and will let you know if those change at any time in the future.
We ask that families be patient as the district awaits an official ruling. Putting our staff members in a position of confrontation when they are following the directions of the approved school reopening plan is disruptive to the educational process.
Thank you for your continued cooperation and partnership during this time.