New guidance for masks in New York schools

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that with the state’s low positivity rate and low risk of transmission by children, New York will allow schools to choose no masks outside for students.

Masks will still be required inside.

Schools, including those in the Shen district, were already prepared to take steps in this heat and humidity, both indoors and outdoors.

"Even prior to the memo from Dr. Zucker, we were watching the temperature issue and talking to teachers about ensuring that we increase the frequency and duration of mask breaks for kids," said Dr. L. Oliver Robinson, Shenendehowa School Superintendent.

This followed a weekend of confusion about masks for students.

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On Friday, with just about two weeks left of school, the state health commissioner issued a letter informing the CDC that the state would ease mask requirements as early as Monday.

That news caught a lot of parents, teachers, and school administrators by surprise.

Gov. Cuomo was asked Monday about the confusion.

"There was no confusion with the schools," he answered. "We said on Friday we were asking the CDC for guidance, and we would tell the schools on Monday what the guidance was. Which I just did."

School superintendents have been working closely together throughout the pandemic.

Dr. Robinson hopes that before more guidance is released, educators will be asked for their expert input.

"That’s the piece that I think is sometimes somewhat troubling is that we get something on Friday that we weren’t even aware was coming, and secondly we ask ourselves if someone would have asked us what do you think, we would have said, you may want to consider this," he said.

The governor said they also wanted to have school guidance align with guidance for summer camps.

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