February 11, 2022
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers,
This week there has been information and changes with news regarding health parameters. This communication is an update with information including recent and important announcements regarding health and safety measures with the COVID-19 pandemic.
NYS Governor Hochul announced that the mask mandate for all businesses has expired, however the mask mandate will stay in effect for schools. West Genesee Schools will continue to require all students, staff, and visitors to wear masks in accordance with the New York State mandate.
The Governor’s announcement included information that indicates the topic of school mask mandates will be revisited, seemingly in the near future. Her remarks included monitoring cases and specially mentioned the upcoming winter recess; February 21-25. I will keep you apprised of any future messaging from the Governor’s office.
As a region, Superintendents have been discussing and advocating to Governor Hochul the need for a clear exit strategy from the current guidelines. Should Governor Hochul announce a release of the current mask mandate for schools, West Genesee Schools will apply the option to mask for any student or staff member. When that time comes, we will support the decision and choice of individuals and/or parents; those that choose to wear masks and those who choose not to wear masks.
I understand the ongoing circumstances and change create a mixed reaction and range of emotions across a large population. We will support an atmosphere of mutual respect with acceptance of an individual’s choice. Of course, we will continue to adhere to any guidelines from the State and County Health Departments that focus on the health and safety of our school community as we move forward.
COVID-19 Test Kits
The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the District has decreased significantly in recent weeks. That is terrific news! During the week of February 14, each school will distribute at-home rapid test kits to all staff and students. The New York State Department of Health has provided the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Test Kits (two tests per kit) and encourages all staff and students to take an at-home rapid test before returning to school on February 28. Principals will send more information that is specific to the building on how to receive a test kit.
Please note that this is an optional resource and the District will not be collecting or reporting test results. We ask that families who utilize the kits and have a child with a positive test result report the positive case to the Onondaga County Health Department and follow all isolation requirements. Positive test results should be submitted through the portal provided by Onondaga County.
Thank you for your continued partnership during a time when our common goal of health and safety is paramount.
David C. Bills
Superintendent of Schools
West Genesee Central School District