New York Teachers Union Calls For More Stringent Mask Policy

By: Shawn Magrath

New York teachers union calls for more stringent mask policy Teachers unions in New York State are advocating for tougher mask policies that would require schools to mandate use of masks at all times inside school buildings, except for mask breaks and medical accommodations. (Francisco Kjolset / The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

CHENANGO COUNTY - School districts in Chenango County may have to alter social distancing requirements in their reopening plans if state teacher unions win a plea to require face masks at all times indoors during the school day.

The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) is joining the Federation of Teachers and local educators in a push for the state Department of Health to alter school reopening guidelines and mandate the wearing of masks at all times inside the school building, barring break periods and cases of medical accommodation.

The union drafted a letter to NYS Health Commissioner Howard Zucker on Wednesday, saying that discrepancies in school districts’ reopening plans create health concerns for faculty and students. Each school district was required to submit social distancing requirements, including the use of masks, as part of their reopening plan to the state.

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In Chenango County, school districts including Norwich, Oxford, Sherburne-Earlville, and Unadilla Valley require face coverings only when six feet of distancing can’t be maintained. This would include times in common areas, such as breakrooms, hallways or bathrooms. The Otselic Valley, Bainbridge-Guilford, Afton, and Greene school districts require the same.


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