Dear Bellmore-Merrick Families,
Last evening, the Appellate Division, Second Department and the Honorable Justice Miller ruled that the stay order for the mask mandate has been extended. This means that the requirement for all persons to wear masks in school buildings and on school buses remains in effect.
Please know that the Board of Education and I are dismayed at the confusion and discord that the recent events have caused in our school community and will seek to get more definitive answers as to what to expect in the coming weeks. Please see the letter below to NYS Governor Hochul.
We are also appreciative of the numerous emails received last week where a wide array of viewpoints were expressed with thought and passion. It is important to acknowledge that at some point change is coming regarding the mask mandate and that we are currently preparing for a smart and safe transition. We have spent nearly two years developing protocols and procedures that have kept schools safe and moved us closer and closer to a normalized school environment. Please know that we will continue to follow the law, update our in-school protocols to continue to keep schools a safe and inviting place for ALL students, and continue our work towards recreating the more normalized school environment.
As more information becomes available, I will communicate with the community.
Thank you for your support of the students and staff of the Bellmore-Merrick CHSD.
Take care and be well,
Dear Governor Hochul,
We are writing as representatives of the Bellmore and Merrick communities to strongly voice our concern and displeasure over the continued inconsistent messages regarding mask mandates which have confused and divided our communities. The events of the past two weeks which led to a temporary lifting of the mask mandate based on the NYS Supreme Court’s decision, a return when a temporary stay was granted, and finally a stay extended, have negatively affected our students, and resulted in anger, anxiety, and discord among our parents.
If there is a plan to end the NYS mask mandate in the future, it is imperative to communicate with school districts. We have many unanswered questions, but most importantly, do you have a specific matrix that you are using to determine when this will happen?
We implore you to immediately communicate any expectations and/or timeframe of anticipated changes and provide additional guidance to run our school districts. As educators, we need advance notice in order to properly plan to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.
None of us know what the final outcome of the legal challenges will be. However, it is in your control to communicate your plans, expectations and timeline so that we can navigate the upcoming weeks and months. Please communicate at your earliest convenience so that we might plan for this outcome as well as communicate with our communities.
The Bellmore-Merrick CHSD Board of Education Michael Harrington, Superintendent of Schools
Nancy Kaplan, Ed.D.