April 13, 2021
Dear Lyndonville Parents/Guardians and Families,
Late last Friday, April 9, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) issued new COVID-19 requirements for schools. While the updated document itself is over 20 pages long, there is a key requirement that I must share.
Under the new requirement from the NYS DOH, students and staff are now required to wear masks at all times, regardless of social distancing, except for meals. As you know--and consistent with previous guidance and requirements--our District has required mask use only when six feet of distance or greater cannot be maintained; however, we will now need to shift to a new procedure.
Here is the language from the NYS DOH regarding mask use:
Face Masks: Responsible Parties must maintain protocols and procedures for students, faculty, staff, and other individuals to ensure appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to protect against the transmission of the COVID-19 virus when on school grounds and in school facilities. Specifically, appropriate PPE means, at least, an acceptable mask, which is required to be worn by all individuals in all classrooms and non-classroom settings, including but not limited to hallways, school offices, restrooms, gyms, auditoriums, etc. All visitors must wear masks. Masks should have at least two layers of material (e.g. 2-ply).
Our Board of Education and I fully realize and appreciate that this new required regulation will not be well received by the majority of our community, as the survey results in the summer overwhelmingly supported reduced mask use. I also question and am frustrated by the timing of such a new regulation at this point in the year, as our school has been and is fully committed to a safe, responsible, and reasonable reopening plan where we are providing in-person instruction five days per week. All that being said, the Board and District are engaged in advocacy and lobbying efforts with local and state officials to address these concerns.
Again, we are required to adhere to this policy by New York State, as this has also been confirmed by our local Department of Health. Therefore, beginning Wednesday, April 14 and Thursday, April 15th, principals will begin sharing this requirement with our students. The mask policy will then take full effect on Friday, April 16. Since the school year began, our staff and students have continually risen above expectations and adhered to guidelines, and we are now obligated to enforce and follow the written requirements.
I continue to be proud of the success we have had with our Reopening Plan, and should you have any questions, please contact me at the information listed below.
Jason A. Smith
Superintendent of Schools