HAUPPAUGE, NY – A Long Island school district reversed course Sunday after initially telling families it would no longer meet the state’s indoor mask mandate.
In a joint letter to the community on Sunday, the Hauppauge School District Superintendent, the Board of Education and the Teachers Union said all students, faculty and staff would be required to wear face coverings. inside Monday.
“In Hauppauge, we would never break state law; this is not the lesson we want our children to learn. Opposition, in any form whatsoever, must be done with respect and always by legal means, ”the letter said.
The about-face came after the state’s health ministry issued a statement Sunday afternoon warning any school district that violates state COVID safety guidelines, such as the indoor mask warrant. , would risk losing permission to learn in person.
“Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools must adhere to DOH guidelines to be allowed to remain open for in-person instruction. If a district does not meet the masking requirements of the ministry guidelines, local health departments are the entities responsible for enforcing those requirements, ”a spokesperson for the ministry of health told PIX11 News.
In the letter to the community on Sunday, school officials said they did not want to compromise the district’s ability to teach students in person.
“A closure of our schools would be extremely detrimental to the educational process and certainly not in the best interests of our students,” the letter read. “As such, all students, faculty and staff will continue to wear masks inside school facilities, in accordance with the protocols explained previously.”
Face coverings are no longer required in outdoor school campus environments, which is in line with current state guidelines.
The Department of Health warning came after the presidents of the school board and teachers’ union sent a letter last week to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr Howard Zucker, advising them that the district school would cease to respect the mandate of indoor masks on Monday. The letter cited a range of factors, including an immunization rate of over 70% among staff members and large, well-ventilated classrooms.
However, District Superintendent Dennis O’Hara told Newsday he was not consulted on the letter before it was sent.
The school board’s attempt to defy state guidelines came just days after Cuomo backed down on an earlier announcement that school districts could remove the indoor mask mandate.
Cuomo said the state would instead follow CDC guidelines that require masks indoors but allow districts to choose whether face coverings are required outdoors.
The back-and-forth advice has caused confusion and frustration on school campuses across the state.
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