A handful of schools in Cortland County have made a decision on their respective mask requirement in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, after Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Sunday that she is lifting the statewide mask mandate for schools.
All public school districts in the county have made masks optional for students and staff members. St. Mary’s School and Cortland Christian Academy in the city of Cortland will also make mask-wearing optional, while Truxton Academy Charter School has not made a decision one way or another.
Here’s a word from each school:
According to a representative from the Cortland Enlarged City School District, a robocall was sent out to the families’ of students within the school district about the impending option for masks.
For the Homer Central School District, superintendent Thomas Turck sent out a message to the Homer community Monday morning:
Dear Homer Schools Community,
I am writing to provide an update on a COVID-19 item that will affect your child.
Masking in Schools: Governor Hochul just announced that the mask mandate for schools will be lifted on Wednesday, March 2nd. That means that mask wearing will be optional in Homer Schools beginning this Wednesday.
Students and staff are expected to wear masks on Monday and Tuesday. I appreciate the community support that has allowed us to navigate the pandemic thus far, and thank you for your continued willingness to follow district policies and practices to help keep students and staff safe.
The Governor is meeting with educational leaders tomorrow to develop guidance that we hope will be shared by the Department of Health/NYS Education Department on Tuesday. This will help inform our post mask mandate district guidance that we will be communicating before students arrive on Wednesday.
If you have any questions or health and safety concerns that you would like to discuss prior to the end of the mandate on Wednesday, please feel free to contact your child’s building principal.
Take care and thank you for entrusting your child’s education to us.
Thomas M. Turck
Superintendent of Schools.
Rebecca Stone, superintendent of Marathon Central School District, noted the district sent out a letter to families prior to the district’s mid-winter break. The letter can be seen here.
Melinda McCool, superintendent of McGraw Central School District, confirmed in an email Monday that masks will be optional in the district.
Todd Freeman, superintendent of Cincinnatus Central School District, also confirmed the district’s decision via email on Monday. He also provided a letter that was sent out to families Monday evening:
Denise Hall, principal at St. Mary’s School, sent out an email to families Monday afternoon in regards to the school’s decision:
Dear St. Mary's School Families,
As many have heard, Governor Hochul made the decision to lift the mask mandate in schools beginning this Wednesday. When she did this, she stipulated that counties and cities still have the authority to require masks in schools after the statewide mandate expires this week.
The Cortland County Health Department does not plan on implementing an additional mask requirement in schools. At this time, they are leaving it up to individual schools to decide. However, they will continue to watch the metrics and if the positivity rates increase within the county and if they are seeing spread in schools they will reconsider their decision.
St. Mary's School will not require a mask this Wednesday. Of course, anyone can wear one at any time. If you would like your child to continue to wear a mask, please reach out to the appropriate teacher or let me know and I will facilitate the process. We will do our best to accommodate your request.
We should be receiving more guidance from the state before Wednesday, but at this point, I am unsure what to expect. I will let you know of any changes.
As always, I am praying for everyone's good health!
Craig Miller, Manager of Cortland Christian Academy, confirmed over the phone Tuesday morning that the school is planning to make masks optional.
As for the Truxton Academy Charter School, Sara Petit-McClure, Head of School, Truxton Academy Charter School, said the school’s final decision will be based on further guidelines from the state’s Department of Education and Department of Health. She believes, however, the respective department’s guidelines “will not contradict” Gov. Hochul’s decision.