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OCSD updates mask policy while outdoors starting Wednesday

IMPORTANT CHANGE TO MASKING OUTDOORS

June 8, 2021

Dear Oswego City School District Parents, Guardians and Community,
 
On last Friday, June 4, 2021, the New York State Department of Health released a document to the media that was sent to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) concerning the possible discontinuation of masking in schools. This document was widely reported in the media and caused concern for many districts and their communities across the state. 
 
In response to the content of the document, Monday afternoon Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared with the media that there would soon be some changes to masking restrictions in schools. Specifically, he shared that he planned to release new guidance for districts that would recommend that they continue to require indoor masking for students, visitors and staff while also allowing students and staff an option of not masking when outdoors. It should also be noted, the governor also mentioned that districts do have the option of enforcing more requirements if they’d like to.
 
Late Monday night the New York State Department of Health confirmed in a guidance document (see attached document, page 9) that schools:
  1. Are required to continue to expect everyone to wear masks while in a school building and/or on a school bus until further notice; and
  2. No longer have to require masks for any activity that occurs outdoors for staff or students -- whether they are vaccinated or not.
  
In response to this guidance, the district has consulted with its Medical Director, and he is in agreement that our interpretation of this new guidance is correct.
  
Given this new information, please be advised that effective tomorrow, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, the district will:
  1. Continue to enforce masking while staff, students and visitors are indoors; and
  2. Not require students and staff to wear a mask when they are outdoors for activities. Examples of outdoor activities include but are not limited to: recess, physical education, athletics, etc. Please note, this change does not include end of year celebrations (graduations, recognition ceremonies). The state has guidance that has already been put into place for these types of ceremonies and/or events. The district intends to continue to comply with the guidance and regulations that have been enacted for these types of events.
 
It should be noted, if parents and/or guardians wish to have their child continue to mask while outdoors, the district will honor this request. We ask that any parent who would like this accommodation please contact their child’s school directly to let them know.
 
The district also requests that parents and/or guardians share this information with their child(ren) prior to them coming into school later this week. 
 
Should any parent or guardian have additional questions about this change, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s school directly or to our COVID-19 Hotline at 315-341-2050. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this information and cooperation with all of our policies and procedures.
 
Yours in Education,
Mathis Calvin III, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
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