New York City, NY

Face Masks Not Required for New York State Summer Schools

Synthia Stark
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

In the state of New York, fully vaccinated teachers students are no longer required to wear face masks in summer school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended this, while the Department of Health (DOH) released new guidelines and guidance suggesting that they would approach summer school programs like they would for summer camps.

However, it is unclear if the state will adopt these new guidelines once classes resume in the fall. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding that.

In other words, face masks are encouraged, but not mandated. In return, one would assume that some reverse psychology may be at play here. For example, since people will not feel pressured to wear the mask, perhaps some people will be more inclined to wear it, which is fine either way.

You can watch more about it below:

For now, though, those who are still unvaccinated, including students under the age of 12, will need to continue wearing a mask, and be tested weekly, despite a nationwide decline in cases in recent months. Plus, if you are unvaccinated it's best to be within the recommended 3 feet of distancing.

Regardless, these new guidelines and guidance were sent to educators and schools some days ago. The guidance states:

"These COVID-19 prevention strategies remain critical to protect people, including students, teachers, and staff, who are not fully vaccinated, especially in areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels."

This means that districts do not have to report daily to the COVID-19 Report Card.

The report card is a dashboard that allows us to examine private schools, charter schools, and public school districts. It has been particularly helpful for adults, and their children. As an informative tool, it ensures that everyone knows what is happening in each school.

The Superintendent of Hamburg Central Schools near Buffalo is Michael Cornell. According to him, his working hypothesis and initial analysis are that school districts are looking for more flexibility, especially as time goes on.

If you need a recap, here's an old video that explains the dashboard:

For now, it seems that:

  1. There are lower rates of transmission in New York (and in the nation overall)
  2. There may or may not be future revisions to the masking policy
  3. Daily reporting from schools is no longer needed
  4. Summer Schools may change their strategy depending on how things go

As for life after summer school, there may be changes. For now, though, some people may welcome the news of some normalcy, especially after a few years of uncertainty and confusion. On the upside, our society has finally gotten parts of its act together and is starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Here's a video of the Summer Rising program that is currently happening in New York City. It started on July 6, 2021:

Of course, some parents and students are happy about this program, and others not so much. Depending on how things, perhaps this program will continue in the following year.

Anyways, the state Health Department and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will make the final call about the official mask policy once September rolls around. Since the mask rules may or may not change after summer school, I'm sure some teachers, parents, and students are anxious about the uncertainty.

We can also hope that science, logic, and common sense will prevail.

For now, we will just have to sit tight and make sure that everyone is okay. Our children, including those in New York State, deserve to feel safe, have a quality education, learn from great educators, and make some meaningful friendships too.

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