Dear Parents and Guardians,
On Friday, June 4, 2021 a letter from NYS Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Zucker to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was publicly released and has been widely reported in news media outlets. The contents of this letter include the intent to change mask requirements in the school setting beginning Monday, June 7, 2021 unless the CDC advises of contrary data or science. This announcement, specifically the manner in which this information was released, has understandably resulted in confusion, misinterpretation, and concern. To date no such guidance has been released.
To address some of the misinformation that is being circulated, New York State Education Department (NYSED) issued the following statement to all school districts in NYS this afternoon:
As of September 1, 2020, school districts were permitted to reopen, under Executive Order 202.60, “subject to adherence to Department of Health issued guidance and directives.” These have included the submission of reopening plans to address, among other things, distancing and health requirements.
SED has been in communication with Executive staff regarding the attached letter from Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Commissioner of Health. According to conversations with Executive staff, the intent of this letter was to obtain a response from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding differing standards for summer camps and schools; it has not changed any existing arrangements. Therefore, schools should continue to operate under their existing procedures until further notice. No changes have been, or will be, made by the Executive until after Monday June 7 to afford the CDC an opportunity to respond to the letter.
Therefore, at this time, there are no changes to the mask wearing protocol for Port Jervis City School District. We will continue to follow the established Orange County and New York State Departments of Health guidelines.
Recognizing that this is a fluid situation, we will be prepared to adjust to follow any updated guidance and direction as it develops. Additionally, we are well aware of the forecasted temperatures in the coming days. The faculty and staff of Port Jervis City School District will continue to place the health and safety of our students at the forefront of everything we do. The students will continue to have frequent and extensive mask breaks throughout the school day.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Superintendent of Schools