Important mask update: Gov. Hochul adopts recently updated CDC guidelines; effective Wednesday, March 2 masks are no longer required inside school buildings

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Dear Minisink Valley school community:

We’re looking forward to seeing our students and staff return to our classrooms  tomorrow,  Feb. 28, and I hope everyone has had an enjoyable time away from school!

I’m writing with news: Gov. Kathy Hochul has directed the New York State Department of Health to adopt the recently updated CDC guidelines on mask wearing.  This means that effective Wednesday, March 2,  mask wearing is now optional for all while inside our buildings.

This policy change has been long awaited by all of us and we applaud the governor’s decision. I must stress that anyone who wishes to wear a mask for whatever reason is encouraged and welcome to do so.

COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates have dropped significantly.  However, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind all of us that local conditions can change.  Minisink Valley — like all New York State schools — must and will follow all New York State Department of Health guidance should conditions require any future policy change.

Beginning March 2, we can enjoy the opportunity to walk into our buildings without the need to wear a mask.  We all know this will be a wonderful enhancement to our students’ daily learning experiences as much as it is for our staff.  Please remind your child of the importance to follow proper hand washing and related sanitary habits and be mindful of social distancing. If your child is not feeling well, it’s important to not send him/her to school.

Our commitment to the good health of our students and staff is only bolstered by this policy change. This has been a long time coming. Our Board of Education joins me in offering our sincerest gratitude for your ongoing support and understanding during this time. We appreciate your realization that the district is legally obligated to follow all state mandates. We’ve heard your voices and we respect your opinions. Likewise, we appreciate the respect you’ve shown us and the respect you’ve asked your children to show their teachers and principals on this mask wearing issue.

My hope is that we won’t have any further need to wear masks while in school buildings. I look forward to all of us coming back from our Winter Break revitalized and ready for the wonderful learning opportunities awaiting our students.


Brian C. Monahan