As many may be aware, it was an interesting evening regarding the enforcement of the mask mandate that has been in place for schools.
First, a New York State Supreme Court judge ruled that masks may no longer be required in school settings pursuant to 10 NYCRR 2.60.
A short time after that decision was delivered, the New York State Education Department issued a letter to schools advising all New York State school districts that they must continue following the mask requirements in school buildings and on the school bus.
Finally, late last evening, the Governor filed an appeal of this ruling, which has resulted in an automatic stay of the court order ruling against 10 NYCRR 2.60–reinstating the mask requirement.
Based on the facts at this time, in consultation with legal counsel and Section 5519 A of Civil Practice Law and Rules, masks must continue to be worn in school. Please know that the situation is evolving very quickly, and this determination is subject to change.
From the beginning of the pandemic, we have remained committed to the mandates issued by New York State. If we receive additional information that reverses the current mask mandate, we will follow suit and mask use would become optional.
The individuals who work at the Putnam Valley School District are not public health experts, we do not set public health mandates, but we are required to follow those that are handed down by New York State.
We will continue to closely follow this situation as it plays out in the courts and at the state level. If there are any changes to the current mask mandate in schools, that information will be immediately shared with the community.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Dr. Jeremy Luft
Superintendent of Schools
The message sent out by the New York State Education Department is included below.
The State Education Department understands that Nassau County Supreme Court has ruled that the Department of Health exceeded its authority in enacting the mask regulation, 10 NYCRR 2.60, in Demetriou et al. v. New York State Dep’t of Health et al. This regulation is the subject of conflicting decisions, insofar as Albany County Supreme Court recently upheld the regulation in Massapequa UFSD et al. v. Hochul, et al.
It is SED’s understanding that the Department of Health will appeal the Nassau County Supreme Court decision, which will result in an automatic stay that will unambiguously restore the mask rule until such time as an appellate court issues a further ruling. Therefore, schools must continue to follow the mask rule.