Central Valley CSD – in a joint decision with Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES and the nine other school districts in the region – is maintaining current mask-wearing requirements in schools as of now, pending further guidance on state plans to change the rules.
This decision is based on information from the New York State Education Department, which clarifies a letter sent by NYS Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The clarification reads:
"SED has been in communication with Executive staff regarding the 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."
Confusion arose because Dr. Zucker had stated in the June 4 letter that the state would ease the mask requirements in schools effective Monday, June 7, to align with guidance for youth camps unless the CDC advises the state before Monday, June 7, that it should not take this action.
School legal firm Girvin and Ferlazzo, PC, the New York State Council of Superintendents and the New York State United Teachers union are also recommending no changes to masking requirements until the CDC responds or the NYS Department of Health issues new recommendations.
For these reasons, Central Valley Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Rich, Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent Sandra Sherwood and the 9 other school superintendents in the Herkimer BOCES region agreed to not make any changes to mask-wearing requirements at this time. Each of the regional schools will consider implementing changes as soon as the proper state agency gives revised guidance.
Without any further guidance from the state, the rules around mask-wearing in all school settings, social distancing, health attestations, limits to gatherings and quarantines are all still in place for schools.