Superintendents call on governor, health commissioner to act on masks

The following letter has been sent to the Governor and Health Commissioner on behalf of school superintendents in the WSWHE BOCES Region

February 26, 2022

Honorable Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, New York 12224

Commissioner Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12203

Dear Governor Hochul and Commissioner Bassett,

As you are aware, on Friday, February 25, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for masking, and in particular, updated guidelines for masking in schools.

As you may recall our group recently wrote a letter entitled “Pathway to Normalcy” in which we asked for information and metrics to allow our students and staff a roadmap to move away from the current masking requirements. Since that time, through the efforts of your departments and the dedication and hard work from our communities, the COVID community levels have continued to decrease and we are continuing to transition to a more “normal” environment. This is especially true with the announcement of the updated CDC guidelines.

We write you today with a sense of urgency asking you to implement the following measures, before students return from the February recess period on Monday, February 28:

● In compliance with the new CDC recommendations, remove the mandate for masking for school facilities and on school busses in counties identified by the CDC at low or medium levels of risk,

● Provide guidance to school districts, parents, and staff about the factors that would trigger the reintroduction of masks, and

● Provide guidance to school districts on changes to other mitigation layers including social distancing and/or quarantine rules.

Thank you for your timely consideration of our requests which will allow us to effectively communicate with the families we serve. Please know that we are appreciative of your continued support and understanding of the many challenges faced by school districts during this time.

Andrew Cook
Hartford Central School District
Chairperson, WSWHE BOCES CSO Advocacy Committee

On behalf of the 31 Superintendents of Schools in the WSWHE BOCES region:

Superintendents of Schools in the WSWHE BOCES region
Michael Healey, Argyle CSD
Kenneth Slentz, Ballston Spa CSD
Michael Graney, Bolton CSD
Dr. Douglas Silvernell, Cambridge CSD
Dr. Mark Stratton, Corinth CSD
Justin Hoskins, Fort Ann CSD
Mark Bessen, Interim, Fort Edward UFSD
Dr. Brita Donovan, Galway CSD
Paul Jenkins, Glens Falls City SD
Brian George, Glens Falls Common
Thomas McGurl, Granville CSD
Mark Fish, Greenwich CSD
Beecher Baker, Hadley Luzerne CSD
Andrew Cook, Hartford CSD
Daniel Ward, Hudson Falls CSD
David Snide, Indian Lake CSD
Michael Markwica, Johnsburg CSD
Douglas Huntley, Interim, Lake George CSD
Bruce Potter, Mechanicville City SD
Kyle McFarland, Minerva CSD
Christian Fisher, Newcomb CSD
Michele French, North Warren CSD
Kyle Gannon, Queensbury UFSD
Mark Doody, Interim, Salem CSD
Dr. Michael Patton, Saratoga Springs City SD
Dr. Ryan Sherman, Schuylerville CSD
Kristine Orr, South Glens Falls CSD
Patricia Morris, Stillwater CSD
Amy Langworthy, Warrensburg CSD
Patrick Pomerville, Waterford-Halfmoon UFSD
Patrick Dee, Whitehall CSD

cc: James P. Dexter, District Superintendent, WSWHE Supervisory District
Dr. Betty A. Rosa, New York State Commissioner of Education
Tina McDougall, Washington County Public Health Services
Cathy Medick, Saratoga County Public Health Services
Daniel Kuhles, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner Saratoga County Public Health Services
Ginelle Jones, Warren County Public Health
Erica Mahoney, Hamilton County Public Health
Linda Beers, Essex County Health Department

Members of the New York State Assembly
Jake Ashby
Michael Benedetto
Carrie Woerner
Matthew Simpson
Robert Smullen
John McDonald
Mary Beth Walh

Members New York State Senate
Daphne Jordan
Shelly Mayer
Dan Stec
James Tedisco