Local school districts follow state mask requirements for summer programs


CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The CDC released new guidance on Friday, vaccinated teachers and students don’t need to wear masks inside the classrooms. Local school districts say they are following the state’s guidelines, masks are ‘strongly encouraged’ but not required.

“We are reviewing the CDC return to school guidance.  The update we shared earlier this week for summer schools is still in effect at this time.”

A spokesperson with the NYSDOH.

For many students, they’re back to hitting the books. Summer school kicked off this week, and many local school districts have seen more families taking advantage of their summer programs.

“Kids want to learn. They want to be in school. At first we thought masks were going to be a challenge in the summer — but they’re kind of resilient to it, they’re going with the flow, they like to be here and know that they’re cared for and they’re complying and doing everything they want to do,” said Watervliet Assistant Superintendent Don Stevens.

The State Department of Health released new guidelines suggesting districts should treat school programs like summer camps, encouraging face masks without mandating them.

“When students are outside and faculty are outside — they don’t have to wear a mask, but when they are inside the building and traveling within the building — we are asking everyone to mask up,” said Jim McHugh, East Greenbush Assistant Superintendent.

However for students in Watervliet, the district is taking a few extra safety steps, they are enforcing masks even at the desks. “We want to make sure kids are safe, it’s our responsibility. With Delta variants and all of the news that you hear about where things could potentially go, for the time being until we get some more guidance…we’re going to leave masks alone,” said Stevens.

NEWS10 reached out to several Capital Region school districts to learn their plans. For Albany City CSD, masks and social distancing protocols are enforced indoors. In Shenendehowa CSD, masks are not required but highly encouraged. In Troy, masks are required when social distancing can’t be enforced…but the districts say things can change day-by-day.

“You never know when the guidance is going to change so we have to be ready. We plan all possibilities. We are hopeful to have a normal opening of school in the fall, we are very hopeful for that,” said McHugh.

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