Dear Colleagues, Parents and Students,
The first day of the 2021-2022 school year is quickly approaching and we are working diligently to prepare to welcome our students safely back to school for in-person instruction. All of our planning has been based on a goal that is fully endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. To achieve this goal, the Washingtonville Central School District is implementing protocols which are in-line with proven COVID-19 mitigation measures to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students.
As you are likely aware, at the Board of Education meeting on August 16, 2021 the District took action on the wearing of masks on school property for the 2021-22 school year. This action strongly recommended, but did not require, that face coverings and/or masks be worn at all times within the District’s school buildings. Over the last week, there have been a number of public statements by New York’s new governor, Kathy Hochul indicating that a universal indoor school mask mandate; which is aimed at curbing the highly contagious delta variant and reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, is likely to be imminently mandated here in New York State. Governor Hochul’s remarks have explained that the anticipated mask mandate would require children ages 2 and older in K-12 schools to wear masks inside school buildings as part of a layered mitigation strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19 .
Although no such District or statewide universal school mask requirement has been effectuated as of the time of this communication, in the event that this new legal requirement is imposed, the District intends to follow any required State mask protocols or procedures. In the event of a statewide mask mandate, the District’s prior action which strongly recommends masks inside our schools, will be amended to require masks to be worn inside school buildings in accordance with new legal requirements, if any.
Although this communication may be seen by some as premature, the start of the 2021-22 school year on September 1, 2021, is just around the corner. In an effort to prevent surprise and/or confusion, the Board and I thought it was important to share and explain the information contained in this letter. We will continue to promptly provide the school community with updates relating to any change(s) to the District’s COVID-19 protocols, as soon as additional information is known.
The District’s priority is to safely keep schools open for student instruction. In furtherance of this goal, we will continue to review, revise and implement safety protocols and procedures which are aimed at reducing and/or eliminating local COVID-19 transmission in our school community. Please see below for detailed information regarding Washingtonville’s CSD Reopening Plan. Please note, if we receive any additional guidance from the Governor or NYSDOH regarding a mask mandate, our reopening plan will be adjusted accordingly. As we work collectively to reopen and welcome the return of students and staff to our schools for the 2021-22 school year, the Board and I deeply appreciate your efforts, understanding and patience while we collectively navigate the evolving challenges presented by this pandemic.
Dr. Larry Washington
Superintendent of Schools
REOPENING PLAN LOCATED IN LATEST UPDATE.