NEW YORK STATE (WSYR-TV)– After a weekend of questions and concerns swirling about the potential change in mask policy for New York State schools, students, staff and parents received some answers today from Governor Cuomo.
He announced during his Monday morning press conference that the CDC will allow students and staff to go maskless outdoors regardless of their vaccination status, but the indoor mask policy will remain in effect for the rest of the school year.
This new guidance came after New York State Health Department Commissioner, Howard Zucker sent a letter to the CDC on June 4 asking to align the K-12 school guidance with the current CDC guidance for youth camps which strongly encourages but does not require mask use indoors or outdoors.
Superintendent of Liverpool Central School District, Mark Potter said the letter sent on Friday caused so much confusion over the weekend.
“There was so much confusion of parents thinking they were going to send their kids to school today without a mask on as well as many of our staff members thinking that the mask mandate was over, so it was inundated of a weekend with questions and concerns,” he said.
The CDC did give the green light for the outdoor policy to be changed, but not the indoor policy because they said there isn’t enough time with two weeks left of school to make the necessary changes.
“We have 15 or now 14 days of school left and it would seem to me that there probably was not a necessity to change anything until now and the end of the school,” he said.
It will be up to the discretion of each school district whether the new outdoor guidance is adopted or not but Potter says he can’t adopt the policy right away.
“Realistically we can’t make that change until I actually receive something in writing from either the Governor’s office as an Executive Order or as a guidance document from the New York State Department of Health,” he said.
Potter has been pleased with his school’s protocols and mitigation tactics to keep his students and staff protected up to this point.
“It really is a system that seems to be working and why monkey with it?” he said. “Just let us get through the rest of the year without any significant changes.”
Governor Cuomo said during the press conference that the CDC will be issuing new national guidance for schools in the next several weeks.