March 3, 2022
Dear Parents,Guardians and Staff:
As you are likely aware, in response to declining transmission rates and recent guidance from the Center for Disease Controls, New York State has made wearing masks in schools–including on school buses and during extra-curricular activities–optional as of Wednesday, March 3. On Tuesday evening, we received additional guidance relating to this decision. The new masking guidance is available here, and additional information is summarized in this FAQ from the governor’s office. Below are some important highlights.
The ability to make masks optional is related to the transmission level in a community.
At this point in time, Ulster County is currently designated “Low Transmission.” Should this designation change, Ulster County is authorized to implement masking requirements. Please also note that only counties have this authority, not school districts.
The decision to wear or not wear a mask is a personal choice and bullying, stigmatizing, or making someone feel uncomfortable about this choice will not be tolerated.
Our nurses will continue to inform contacts when possible, however students will no longer be excluded from the classroom setting, school buses, or extra-curricular activities due to exposure, as long as they are symptom-free. Vaccination status is no longer a factor in determining isolation/quarantine.
- The Test-to-Stay program has been eliminated, although testing is strongly recommended. Free at-home tests are available by contacting the school nurse.
- It is strongly recommended that individuals who have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after exposure.
- Districtwide notifications of positive cases will be issued to support families in making informed choices about masking.
- An individual who has tested positive, either with or without symptoms, must isolate for 5 days.
- If the symptoms have improved (including being fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications), the individual may return to school; however they MUST wear a well-fitting mask through Day 10.
- All positive tests should be reported to the school nurse.
- It is essential that individuals not come to school when sick, especially if the symptoms are common to the COVID-19 virus.
- Those with symptoms are not permitted to attend school for at least 5 days, unless they test negative for COVID-19.
- If the symptoms have improved (including being fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications), an untested individual may return to school on Day 6; however they MUST wear a well-fitting mask through Day 10.
- Weekly testing continues to be mandatory per New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) for unvaccinated staff.
- Testing will continue to be optional for vaccinated staff.
As we follow the State’s new directions on masking in our schools, please be assured that our number one concern remains the health and safety of our learning community. We will continue to implement mitigation strategies to minimize the spread of illness. We encourage our families to make responsible decisions about not sending their children to school when sick, testing, and masking. This will assist us in keeping everyone healthy and continuing to operate with mask-optional guidance in our schools.