NYSED issues mask update – masking still required

June 6, 2021, 2:30 p.m.

Dear Stillwater Community,

On Friday, June 4, I released masking changes based on a letter submitted to the CDC from Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Commissioner of Health. This messaging was also supported by our local health department. Given the forecast for high heat and humidity I was happy to see that these changes were supported so that we could keep our students in school without the risk of heat-related illness.

However, in the past hour, the New York State Education Department issued the following statement which is contrary to the NYSDOH press release on June 4:

“SED has been in communication with Executive staff regarding the attached 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.”

Therefore I must unfortunately rescind the optional masking protocol and await official guidance. Please note, I had taken Dr. Zucker’s letter as affirmation that this would be in place for Monday. My apologies.

Masking will therefore continue, however, please note we are making adjustments due to the heat to allow students to remove masks while seated in classrooms, at lunch and outdoors while 6+ feet apart. Masking will still be required when on the bus and moving about the buildings.

Thank you for your patience as we make it through these last few weeks of a very difficult year.

Patti Morris