June 6, 2021
Dear Pearl River School District Community:
I regret to inform you of a reversal of the mask policy for schools. A short while ago the New York State Education Department (NYSED) contacted school districts indicating that there has not been a change to the policy on mask wearing for schools.
Please see the following excerpt taken from NYSED’s letter to school superintendents received this afternoon: “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.”
It is very disappointing to receive this notice after the Governor and Department of Health stated that they will make this change effective tomorrow. Please be assured that we will communicate with you as soon as we receive additional information.
All students and staff will be required to continue wearing a mask until the Governor and Department of Health make a decision. Given the expectation for high temperatures during the upcoming week of school please be reminded of the allowances for mask breaks that individuals may take when they feel it becomes necessary for their safety. Please talk with your children about this and encourage them to take advantage of this opportunity if they feel it is necessary. Mask breaks can be taken indoors, or outdoors, provided social distancing of six feet is maintained.
The weather forecast calls for high heat and humidity tomorrow and Tuesday. Understanding the difficulty this presents under normal circumstances, and the added challenge of wearing a mask, the District may initiate early dismissals. Please be prepared for the potential of early dismissals from schools during these days. We will monitor conditions at the buildings and make every effort to provide as much advance notice to families as possible.
Please know that I share your frustration and disappointment with this situation and that I intend to advocate for clarity and change with the Governor’s Office and the NYSDOH on this issue.
Marco F. Pochintesta, Ed. D.