Many St. Lawrence County schools adopt new CDC mask guidance
BY MATT LINDSEY
North Country This Week
Students at many local schools, including Canton and Norwood-Norfolk school no longer have to wear masks when outside on school grounds.
Students at Potsdam Central had to wait for the school board to discuss changing the mask mandate at its Board of Education meeting Tuesday night.In related news, Section X Athletics will no longer require masks at outdoor athletic events. All of the school districts within Section X have adopted those new rules for the last few weeks of school.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday that school districts can choose to lift the requirement that their students must wear masks outdoors. Guidance on mask use indoors remains in place. This change aligns New York State’s guidance on schools with CDC guidance on summer camps, where even unvaccinated students are not currently required to wear masks outdoors.
Canton Central on Tuesday morning announced they will be following the CDC guidance that has been approved at the state and county level.
“Masks will no longer be required outside on school grounds,” Superintendent Ronald Burke said. “We will however continue to maintain safety protocolos of hygiene, social distancing and cohorting to the extent practical.”
Athletes will be able to finish playoff games without wearing masks, if they choose to.
Mask requirements will be dropped for all athletes, coaches, officials, event personnel and spectators at outdoor Section X events.
There will also no longer be a two-spectator limit per athlete. Where Section X previously required athletes to provide names of spectators ahead of games, there will no longer be a need for a gate list.
Everyone is still encouraged to maintain 6 feet of distance from people outside of their household.
“With the weather getting warmer, we’re all glad to be able to get rid of masks during games,” said Section X Executive Director Carl Normandin.
School districts will still need to follow rules for capacity limits at events.
NNCS Superintendent Jamie Cruikshank received official notice from the Department of Health stating, “ ... face masks are not required to be worn outdoors on school grounds, including during outdoor school sports.”
“Considering the low positivity rate our county is experiencing, the low transmission rate for children outdoors, as well as the growing heat, we will be following this guidance,” he said. “We will be immediately updating our Re-Opening Plans to state that all outdoor time during the school day will be a mask break.
Cruikshank said that anyone wishing to wear a mask while outdoors is certainly welcome to continue to do so.
“Please understand that masks are still required inside the building and while on school transportation,” the super said.
The district will also continue to follow all other outdoor safety protocols regarding hygiene, appropriate distancing, and co-horting as appropriate.
“This is very welcome news and another great step toward normal times,” Cruikshank said. “Thank you to our students, staff, and parents for your continued support and cooperation.”