Log in Subscribe

School mask mandate ends March 2

Joseph Abraham
Posted 3/1/22

SULLIVAN COUNTY –– Hundreds of school administrators, school board members and parents, among others across the State, have recently called for an end to the school mask mandate.

On …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

School mask mandate ends March 2


SULLIVAN COUNTY –– Hundreds of school administrators, school board members and parents, among others across the State, have recently called for an end to the school mask mandate.

On Sunday, they got the news they’ve been waiting for.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced plans to end the state mask requirement in schools starting tomorrow, March 2.

According to the Governor’s office, the decision was made based on the analysis of several key COVID-19 data trends and after consulting with health and education experts, as well as parents, teachers and school administrators.

The announcement also follows recent changes in metrics used by the CDC to determine risk and transmission levels in communities. The Governor’s office also noted that other mitigation measures should remain in place.

The Governor’s office further stated that among large states, New York has the highest rate of adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the highest rate of teenagers fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and the second-highest rate of children ages 5-11 fully vaccinated.

New York State has also experienced a 98 percent decline in COVID-19 cases since the Omicron peak, and a continuous downward trend in cases for 51 consecutive days.

“With more New Yorkers getting vaccinated, and the steady decline over the past several weeks in cases and hospitalizations from Omicron, we are now entering a new phase of the pandemic. Because New Yorkers have stepped up, we can confidently remove the statewide mask requirement in our schools,” Governor Hochul said. “This is a huge step forward for our kids and communities and I am grateful to the students, educators and parents for their dedication to keeping us all safe—we've reached this milestone because of your hard work.”

School leaders react

Sullivan BOCES Superintendent/CEO Dr. Robert Dufour recently wrote a letter to the State on behalf of all the County’s school districts, requesting that clear and concise guidance, as well as a defined timeline be given for the proposed end to the mask mandate.

Dufour also inquired about how an end to mask mandates in schools will affect Contact Tracing, TTS, and the weekly testing of unvaccinated employees.

“Removing the requirement for masks inevitably negates the need for these testing mandates as we will be moving from a contained environment to a communal risk level,” the letter stated.

Furthermore, yesterday Dufour told the Democrat, “Sullivan BOCES will make masks optional as of March 2. Since we are now all assuming an equal communal risk of COVID we call on Governor Hochul and Commissioner Bassett to immediately lift all remaining COVID mandates which impact our schools.”

As the Democrat reported earlier this month, by a 7-2 vote, the SW School Board agreed to send Governor Hochul and the State Ed. Dept. a letter recommending the immediate end of the mask mandate and allowing schools to operate in a mask optional environment.

Dr. Kathleen Bressler, Sullivan West Interim Superintendent of Schools, reacting to the end of the school mask mandate, told the Democrat yesterday that, as planned, when the mandate is lifted, Sullivan West will transition to a mask optional school environment.

“We are truly grateful for the lifting of the mandate and that our Board of Education and community support helped us prepare for the mask mandate lifting on Wednesday,” said Bressler. “It is a personal decision for us all and it is important that we continue to be respectful of the choices of our students, families, staff, teachers, and administration, to continue to mask or not. We look forward to continued patience and kindness as we ensure those with medical needs are supported at this time.” 


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here