On Monday, August 16, the Bay Shore Union Free School District announced in a letter to families that they will require universal mask wearing for all students, staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status when school begins on September 9.
The letter also noted that the district will maintain at least three feet of physical distance between students within classrooms as well as continue to report positive cases of COVID-19 to the Suffolk County Department of Health and conduct contact tracing.
“Providing a high quality education to all students continues to be the District’s highest priority,” the letter states. “As we prepare for our return to school, ensuring that our buildings consistently remain open for in-person teaching and learning is essential to achieving this mission.”
“We appreciate the varying perspectives that have been expressed by members of our community, and want to assure you that we understand and respect everyone’s position,” the letter goes on to say.
Earlier this month the state health department announced they would be letting individual districts decide their own masking policies and not issue a state mandate on the issue.
In a statment released after the initial letter the district said:
“The Bay Shore Board of Education, Bay Shore Administrators Association, and the Bay Shore Classroom Teachers Association carefully reviewed all available guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Suffolk County Department of Health, New York State Education Department and American Academy of Pediatrics over the course of several weeks,” said Dr. Steven Maloney, Superintendent of Schools. “Our layered mitigation strategy will help to keep students in classrooms receiving the high quality education Bay Shore provides.”