A message from the Superintendent
Superintendent’s Update #28
January 25, 2022
Dear Chappaqua Central School District Families and Staff,
I would like to thank you all for having your children come to school today, masked, without issue. I appreciated the time you afforded CCSD to understand the landscape of this recent court ruling on mask requirements in schools.
I have received three separate notices from the New York State Education Department and the New York State Department of Health in the last few hours regarding masking in schools. You may review the contents of the emails below.
- NYSED - Email at 8:20pm on January 24, 2022
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 Dep’t 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.
- NYSDOH - Email at 9am on January 25, 2022
On Monday, the State Supreme Court in Nassau County struck down mask mandates put in place via regulation. While it covers many different places where mask mandates are in effect, including in public spaces, the primary question that is likely to come from this ruling involves K-12 schools.
The State is appealing the decision and will seek an emergency injunction to stay the Court’s order. Until these legal steps occur, we strongly support NYSED’s position on continued masking in schools.
NYSDOH and NYSED indoor masking policy aligns with positions of several authorities—such as the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics—that are designed to prevent COVID spread in schools and communities. People in schools who are unmasked are ineligible for test-to-stay and face stricter quarantine standards. These novel programs were put in place because strict adherence to mitigation measures like masking have helped make schools safer places compared to most general community settings that lack such measures. Any removal of these mitigation measures increases the potential for viral spread, leading to widespread quarantine and possibly forcing school closures.
We will continue to keep you updated on the process of appeals and/or stays to this ruling, and its impact on K-12 schools, public spaces, and other places where masking was required.
- NYSDOH - Email at 10:41am on January 25, 2022
The Governor and State DOH have filed a Notice of Appeal and are seeking confirmation that the Court’s order is stayed. While these legal steps occur, it is NYSED’s position that schools should continue to follow the mask rule.
We are receiving constant updates today from our legal counsel as to how we should be proceeding. We have a Board of Education meeting scheduled for tomorrow evening. At that point, we will revisit the masking requirement that is outlined in our Continuity of Learning Plan and make any adjustments necessary. This will give us time to see if additional information is released for consideration from the NYSDOH or the Governor’s office.
Masks will be required on all buses pursuant to a CDC public transportation requirement that is not affected by the ruling discussed above. Masks are still required in all school buildings this afternoon and tomorrow (1/26/22). I will communicate with you before school on Thursday (1/27/22) how we plan to move forward with regards to masks in our District buildings.
Christine Ackerman, PhD
Superintendent of Schools