A Message from the Superintendent regarding NYS mask mandate (2/10/22)

Written by on February 10, 2022

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This week, we were all anticipating that like surrounding states, the Governor would announce a specific target date for when we could consider making adjustments to our current Reopening and Mitigation Plans and associated COVID-19 protocols given the overall improvements that we have worked hard to accomplish and are now seeing relative to the spread of the virus. No specific date was provided and instead a more general timeframe after February recess that the Governor would use in her ongoing evaluation were presented.

While we know the topic of masking can be a contentious one with differing opinions, we want to reiterate the importance of keeping our students in school learning. That has always been our primary objective, our North star. We are aware of some protests at local schools and communities, and we are earnestly hoping that Shen students and residents exercise a level of reasonableness, so as to not disrupt the overall operations of the school day. We want to preserve a safe environment for our students and staff, and look forward to the February Break.

Viewpoints and opinions from our school community have always been taken into consideration in our planning processes, and will continue as we make changes to our Tiered Mitigation and Reopening Plans. Unfortunately, at this moment, we as a school district must follow NYSDOH and NYSED guidelines as well as the NYS mask mandate, which does not allow changes to our masking protocols. 

Please know that the district continues to advocate with the Governor’s Office and local officials on focused off-ramp practices as COVID moves from epidemic to endemic. We will continue to work with our students, including providing them with the addresses of our state representatives, writing letters similar to the ones that we as a District and as regional Superintendents have sent.

Thank you again for your collaborative efforts in keeping our Shen community safe,

Dr. L. Oliver Robinson

Superintendent of Schools