June 7, 2021
Dear Whitney Point Families,
As noted in my former correspondence, the NYS Health Department received feedback from the CDC, as requested in the June 4, 2021 letter. Based on that guidance, Governor Cuomo announced today in a Press release, "that school districts can choose to lift the requirement that their students must wear masks outdoors. Guidance on mask use indoors remains in place. This change aligns New York State's guidance on schools with CDC guidance on summer camps, where even unvaccinated students are not currently required to wear masks outdoors."
We are still waiting for the Executive Order from the Governor to be issued, but I wanted to provide you with the latest information available. Based on this current information, we will continue with our existing protocols for indoor mask use, including mask use on buses, taking more mask breaks when necessary. The use of masks for outdoor use will be optional for all students and staff, with distancing whenever possible still encouraged.
This past weekend was very confusing for many, based on information put out by the State, media, social media, and other districts. I provided you with the actual letter and statement made by the State Health Department and State Education Department, with the knowledge that there was an expected response from the CDC that would be used to determine the final decision made by the State. My objective was to provide you with the information we had been given and not make statements that would later need to be retracted. Even so, there was a lot of conflicting information circulating. I did want to clarify that there is currently no plan made for next year and that Board minutes from April 2021 (referenced in some social media posts) related to a State update for this school year, that as a district, we did not adopt.
We all worked hard this year to educate and keep our students safe. With three weeks left of school, we will continue with those efforts. We appreciate your cooperation and patience throughout the year and moving forward.
Dr. Patricia A. Follette