Thursday, 27 January 2022 14:57

Masks Still Required in Schools Following Supreme Court Ruling

By Jaynie Ellis | News

SARATOGA COUNTY — The New York State Education Department (NYSED) will continue to enforce the mask requirement in schools, as the Supreme Court ruling concerning the constitutionality of the state’s mask mandate has been appealed. 

Ballston Spa Central School District and Saratoga Springs City School District released statements regarding the ruling out of Nassau County before the appeal; both contained the following notice from NYSED: 

“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 Dept. 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.” 

BSCD Superintendent of Schools Ken Slentz released an updated statement on Jan. 25 stating the following: 

“A NYS Appeals Court judge ordered that the NYS Department of Health Commissioner’s Determination on Indoor masking is to remain in place until at least this Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. Additional legal arguments are being presented on Friday and should result in a change in our current plan, we will update you as soon as possible.”

Coinciding with these recent debates regarding masks, there have been recent reports from parents of Caroline Street Elementary School students in the SSCSD, reporting that a math coach has been harshly enforcing the mandate with students. However, a representative from the district has stated that these reports are not accurate and do not depict Caroline Street Elementary’s protocols. 

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s office has also been overwhelmed with calls from parents about the mask mandate. She released the following in a statement on Jan. 25: 

“Kathy Hochul and her Far-Left Department of Education are lying to Superintendents causing unnecessary confusion. There is no stay on this court ruling. Kathy Hochul’s authoritarian mandate was deemed illegal by the NY Supreme Court. Masks are not mandatory for students, period. Yet Kathy Hochul is still trying to force young children to wear masks in school, shamefully disregarding the rule of law.

Any parent or student that is told they cannot attend school in the North Country if they do not wear a mask due to the illegal mandate, please contact my office. As a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee, I will hold the New York State Department of Education accountable.” 

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