Dear North Colonie Community,
As has been reported, on Friday afternoon, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker issued a letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) informing them that New York intended to ease the mask requirements in schools as early as Monday, June 7, but was seeking input from the CDC prior to doing so. As of this writing, no further update has been provided reflecting any input from the CDC.
North Colonie and other public schools have received no definitive guidance from the state regarding mask requirements or any other changes to COVID health and safety protocols. The New York State Education Dept. has directed that school districts continue to follow their existing protocols until further guidance. Therefore, school mask requirements remain unchanged at this time.
As a region, the 24 districts that comprise Capital Region BOCES (including ours) will make no change to mask policies until such guidance is received. Mask wearing will continue in accordance with school district Reopening Plans that were developed based on the comprehensive state guidance of last summer.
Our district has always, first and foremost, been committed to maintaining the safety and security of our students and staff. We and all other districts throughout the region, remain true to the processes and procedures we employed throughout the pandemic. As such, we will not make COVID protocol changes without direct guidance from the New York State Department of Health. Changes in our protocols, including mask wearing, will only occur once we have received and reviewed official guidance and discussed these changes with our local health officials, board of education and community.
District mask policies include requirements for mask use on school buses, in classrooms, in school hallways and on playgrounds. Students regularly take mask breaks through the school day, which include during time of physical exertion.
Especially during these warmer days, administrators will be encouraging teachers and staff to allow students to take ample masks breaks with appropriate social distancing measures when inside the school building. When outside, relaxed mask use is also allowed in accordance with applicable health and safety measures. We encourage families to send water bottles in with students so they can stay appropriately hydrated during the school day.
Anyone with questions or concerns should contact the District Office at 518-785-8591.
D. Joseph Corr