NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Following Gov. Kathy Hochul's decision to lift the statewide school mask mandate, face coverings will be optional in Port Chester schools beginning March 2, district officials announced on Monday.
The City School District of New Rochelle had been planning for optional mask-wearing in advance of Hochul's announcement, the district said, and is waiting for guidance from the state health department on whether the policy change will affect physical distancing and quarantine guidelines.
But the district said it will reinstate its mask mandate if cases rise again and public health and medical experts advise it to do so.
District officials have outlined a mask-optional policy, and are asking parents to keep the following in mind:
Those individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will continue to be excluded from school per our current protocols.
Our current COVID-19 PCR Saliva Testing and Test-to-Stay programs will remain unchanged.
Current modified contact tracing protocols will remain intact as we have our Test-To-Stay program.
The Masking-Optional protocol will apply to all classroom and common area spaces.
All students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, are still required to wear masks at all times whenever in Nursing offices and on transportation, including but not limited to, all buses and vans.
Immuno-compromised students are highly encouraged to mask themselves.
City School District of New Rochelle students and staff may still be required to wear masks on field trips and to sporting events hosted in other districts or regions based on their protocols, rules, and regulations.
Parents will not be permitted to ask teachers or school personnel to enforce masking of their respective children.
Isolation and segregation based on masking choice will not be tolerated and is not allowed by any State regulation or District policy, protocol, or practice.
Hochul announced her decision to lift the mandate on Sunday, and cited a 98 percent drop in COVID-19 cases statewide — from 90,000 positive cases on Jan. 7 to 1,671 on Sunday.
"The day has come," Hochul said on Sunday. "We are lifting the statewide mask requirements as of Wednesday."