Community Message 3.1.22


Community Message 3.1.22

March 1, 2022

Dear Warwick Valley CSD Community,

I am following up on our communication from Sunday afternoon, when I first shared with you that Governor Kathy Hochul had announced changes to the mask mandate for New York schools. In summary, that message stated, based on the latest CDC guidelines, that effective Wednesday, March 2, 2022, mask wearing in New York schools would become optional. 

Following the Governor’s address, the Warwick Valley Central School District announced that it would follow state guidance and make wearing masks on school campuses optional for all students and staff. Governor Hochul indicated that further guidance would be published in the coming days, and the District received that information this evening at about 7:30 p.m.

Although the District is transitioning to optional mask-wearing effective Wednesday, March 2, there are some notable changes to review in the latest guidance. Below are key takeaways to help you understand the changes to the NYSDOH guidance, as well as what to expect and how to plan for tomorrow.

  • Return from Isolation Period: Masking is required upon return from isolation during days 6-10 after COVID-19 infection.
  • Transportation: Masking is no longer required on school buses or vans. Individuals who are required to wear masks in school should wear masks on school transport.
  • Orange County Department of Health: The updated guidance does state that counties have the authority to impose stricter requirements than the state guidance, and it specifically recommends that counties identified as having a high community burden mandate masks. However, the OCDOH will not issue, at this time, more restrictive countywide recommendations based on current countywide metrics, projected trends, new NYS guidance, and updated CDC guidelines.

I encourage you to read the complete NYSDOH guidance document here.

I humbly request your patience and cooperation as we review this updated guidance and determine the safest and most respectful way to implement the latest changes for all of our students and staff. The health and safety of our students and employees, as well as in-person instruction, are of the utmost importance to us, and we will not relent in our efforts to protect those interests. Please keep an eye out for more details about changes to the district’s approach very soon.

The positive effects of our mitigation practices have largely kept us at school together for in-person learning this year, and we are encouraged by local statistics that show all of Orange County as an area of low transmission with declining COVID cases. Even in light of these promising developments, as we prepare to make masks optional for staff and students tomorrow, please keep in mind that each person’s situation and circumstances are unique and should be respected. 

As outlined in Sunday’s communication, there are several key points to remember and discuss with your family.

As everyone adjusts to school routines in the absence of the state’s mask requirement, it’s critical to remember that masks are optional. Additionally, based on parent survey data, it is likely that many students (and staff) will wish to continue wearing a mask/face covering. This decision is entirely reasonable. Our expectation is that our students will remain kind, respectful, and courteous to one another regardless of whether we choose to remain masked or unmasked. Our community is filled with incredible, caring students and families who all want the best for their children. We’ve been through so much in the last 100+ weeks that I’m sure we’ll be able to get through this next phase with respect for each other. Our teachers, staff, and administrators, as well as myself, look forward to greeting everyone upon their return to school tomorrow morning.


David Leach
Superintendent of Schools

Check COVID-19 Community Levels using this online tool developed by the CDC.


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