Albany School District "strongly recommends" indoor face masks

ALBANY – Over the course of the past week, there have been more reported cases of COVID-19 in the Albany School District than in the previous 16 months, since the pandemic began. That reality has forced the district officials to raise a caution flag.

By the end of the day Friday, there are right around 100 new COVID-19 cases confirmed among students and staff in the Albany School community.

"So with that increase, knowing that we are in a high transmission area, then we’re looking at all those safety protocols that we are extenuating and making sure that we emphasize that with our parents and one of the key things is wearing a mask," said Albany Schools Superintendent Dr. Kaweeda Adams.

At this point, Dr. Adams says indoor mask wearing in district buildings is "strongly encouraged." It is not a mandate.

"We are following the guidance with regard to the Albany County Department of Health and listening to all of the health care professionals."

On the school district’s Facebook page, folks are already weighing in.

One person wrote, "So you want to tell a bunch of kids who finally get a normal experience in school after two years that they should maybe start wearing a mask again? No freaking thanks."

Another person chimed in with it’s a "hard no."

Perhaps sensing a misunderstanding, a school official responded, "Many students in our schools are still wearing masks in our district. No one is forcing them to, not even now when case numbers are so high."

The superintendent stresses all decisions are made "in the best interest of public health."

"If our numbers continue to increase in the county, then we may have to make some additional decisions," said Adams.

The district also continues to urge everyone over age 5 to get fully vaccinated.