Masks or no masks? Here's what students can expect for the fall
Long Island school districts are trying to figure out whether to require masks or not after the state Department of Health said it would not issue any COVID-19 back-to-school safety guidelines.
The districts have been instructed to look to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District have not yet made final plans and are looking over the guidance.
"Nobody wants to be the district that says we won't follow the CDC guidance and then we have someone that falls gravely ill," says Plainview-Old Bethpage Superintendent Dr. Mary O'Meara.
The current CDC guidance is that students need to be at least 3 feet apart, and everyone must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. It also states that if everyone is wearing masks and are socially distanced and a student tests positive for COVID-19, only that child has to isolate.
"Now with this new variant we are seeing, more students getting the virus, we are taking it through a logistical standpoint that says if we have this universal masking, we do not have to quarantine students should there be a case in the class," says O'Meara.
Some parents say they are in favor of the masking guidance so that not all kids have to quarantine when someone tests positive. They also rather have masks than a mandated vaccine.
However, there are others that are fed up with masks for their kids.
"I want to see parent choice -- that's it," says Kelly Roper, of Commack. "I want there to be parent choice. If you want to mask your kids, mask them. If you want to unmask your kids, unmask them. It needs to be parent choice at this point."
Since the school districts have the authority to issue their own mask policies, some of them are asking for community input.