1/9/22 - District Email

January 9, 2022

Dear Massapequa Families and Staff Members,

We hope you are all staying warm and have begun 2022 in successful fashion. Last Thursday our new Nassau County Executive, Mr. Bruce Blakeman, signed several executive orders concerning making the wearing of masks in public places optional in our county. As part of this decision he included public schools and shared that he felt parental choice in the matter of students wearing masks should prevail. He then directed local Boards of Education in Nassau to vote sometime in the month of January to decide whether masks would be required in their schools going forward. Our Board had a scheduled meeting that very evening at which our Board President, Mrs. Wachter, shared that while the Board was pleased with the decision, the timing of our meeting was unfortunate in that the issue was sure to be debated and likely litigated at the state level. The Board was reluctant to make a decision that might soon be overturned by the courts and did not vote on the issue that night, therefore, leaving the current NYS mask mandate in place until further notice.

Subsequent to the County Executive’s decision, Governor Hochul and NYS Education Commissioner Rosa have issued strong statements directing districts to follow the current NYS mandate for the wearing of masks in schools. Failure to comply with this directive could mean disciplinary consequences for Board members and administrators, as well as financial ramifications by designated state funding for our district being withheld. Upon our return to school on Monday, January 10, 2022, all students, staff, visitors, and outside groups will be expected to wear masks while inside any of our schools, while this issue is being litigated statewide. We thank you for your cooperation as the Massapequa Board continues to advocate for parental choice in this matter.

Please also be aware that Nassau districts received a message from NYS yesterday that the tests we distributed to families last week, all of which had a January 2022 expiration date, DO NOT have an approved 90-day FDA extension to that expiration. This message is in direct conflict with what we were told by NYS last week. As long as the tests are used this month with your symptomatic child, they are still considered accurate and acceptable. We have been told that additional tests with extended expiration dates will be distributed to us in the coming days.

It is our sincere hope that the COVID positivity rate continues to fall, so that the decision to mask or not to mask is one that we can all embrace with faith and security, and that once the masks are off the faces of our students and staff, they remain off.

We wish the best of health and happiness for you and your family!

With Massapequa Chief Pride,
The Massapequa Board of Education and Central Administration