June 7, 2021

Good evening West Babylon Families,

Since my Friday evening email update, we have received communications from Governor Cuomo’s office, the State Education Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and legal counsel regarding the pending decision on the use of masks to close out the school year.  I have also participated in numerous meetings with my superintendent colleagues throughout Suffolk County.  
 
This afternoon, the CDC and NYSDOH indicated that schools should continue to follow the current COVID-19 prevention strategies for the remainder of this school year. The CDC cited the lack of availability of a vaccine for students under twelve years old as a primary concern, as well as insufficient time for those students 12-15 years old to become fully vaccinated. Based upon the response from the CDC, Governor Cuomo announced the following during today’s press conference:

* Masking requirements will remain in place for all indoor activities within public schools.

* For all outdoor school activities, masks are optional and no longer required.

* When New York State reaches the 70% vaccination rate, indoor mask requirements will be reviewed.

With that said, masks will continue to be required inside all West Babylon School District buildings. However, students and staff will be allowed to remove their masks when outdoors. This will include all outdoor physical education classes, athletics (participants and spectators), recess, outdoor learning, as well as our upcoming outdoor ceremonies including graduation. Additionally, since our students are seated six feet apart inside our classrooms, our teachers will continue to provide frequent mask breaks for the remainder of the school year.

As previously shared, any change in our COVID-19 protocols requires a modification to our current plan (absent an Executive Order) with approval from both NYSED and the NYSDOH. The Board of Education and I cannot go against state orders. It is our understanding that in the coming weeks updated guidance will be developed for the return to classes in the fall.

Regardless of all the challenges we have faced throughout the last 15 months, we have worked together, developed plans and implemented changes in a thoughtful and respectful manner for our children. Thank you, once again, for your understanding and support as things continue to evolve and we close out this difficult school year.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Yiendhy Farrelly

Superintendent of Schools




 
For Immediate Release: 6/7/2021

GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

 
 GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES SCHOOL DISTRICTS CAN ALLOW STUDENTS TO REMOVE MASKS OUTDOORS
 
Guidance on Mask Use Indoors Remains in Place
 
Change Aligns Summer Camp Guidance with School Guidance
 
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that school districts can choose to lift the requirement that their students must wear masks outdoors. Guidance on mask use indoors remains in place. This change aligns New York State's guidance on schools with CDC guidance on summer camps, where even unvaccinated students are not currently required to wear masks outdoors.
 
"The numbers show that the risk of transmission by children is extremely low, especially in this state, which has an extremely low positivity rate. We spoke with the CDC, and since they're not going to change their guidance for several weeks in New York State, we're going to modify the CDC guidance and allow schools to choose no mask outside for children," Governor Cuomo said. "We'll leave that up to the local school district and we spoke to the CDC, which has no objection. It's very important that people understand the logic between these decisions and that they're rational and based on the science and the data. We have a disconnect right now between the school guidance and the camp guidance, and it's important to rectify it because if people don't think the rules are logical, then they're not going to want to follow the rules."