Northern Adirondack Central School District

Office of the Superintendent

James C. Knight, Jr.                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                 P.O. Box 164

                                                                                                              Ellenburg Depot, New York 12935

                                                         518-594-7060 ● Fax 518-594-7255 ●


                                                                                                                                    March 1, 2022

COVID-19 Update on Masking

Good evening parents, guardians, faculty, and staff.  As I mentioned in a brief message yesterday, and as it has been widely reported by media outlets, the Clinton County Health Department has agreed with the Governor’s new guidance on masking in schools.  In fact the CCHD press release from yesterday included the following statement: “The result from today’s collaborative planning session was that though masks are strongly recommended by CCHD, they will no longer be required in school settings”. 

The Governor’s new guidance will take effect tomorrow morning, Wednesday, March 2, 2022.  While masks will no longer be required, the CCHD and other public health officials continue to strongly encourage their use, and no student, staff or visitor will be precluded from continued masking.  Therefore, the option to continue to wear a mask exists for all students and staff who choose to do so, and no criticism, conflict, or bullying of those who elect to choose to wear a mask will be tolerated, and any such actions will invoke the code(s) of conduct.

With the removal of the school masking mandate, public health officials have made it clear that other mitigation strategies (social distancing, COVID-19 testing, exclusion of symptomatic individuals, participation in the vaccination opportunities, etc.) become even more important as we move forward in efforts to end this pandemic.  Social distancing requirements on the school buses, in classrooms, and throughout the school day will continue where feasible. The district will continue to send test kits home with symptomatic individuals who are present at school, while the expectation remains that symptomatic individuals continue to stay home, take tests, and report the results to the school.

We recognize that parents, guardians, students, faculty and staff will now be making their own decisions about wearing masks, so we will be sharing updated information about our current vaccination rates when the data is calculated and available.  This information may help some decide what direction to choose, as scientific and public health leaders continue to promote vaccinations as the best defense against the spread of the virus and against the most severe symptoms for those who become infected.  Vaccination rates change daily as additional individuals become vaccinated and as others move further from their 2nd dose in the case of Pfizer and Moderna or their 1st dose of the Johnson and Johnson, and are no longer considered fully vaccinated without a booster dose.  The figures that we share will be estimates based on the information available to us, however we plan to share them weekly. 

This new masking protocol will be applied in other schools in Clinton County, while as a result of public health departments in other North Country counties having similarly-approved these measures there will be consistency across the entire region.

Some other important updates, details, and reminders about COVID protocols are as follow:

  • This new masking guidance is applicable both to the regular school setting and to co-curricular activities such as athletics and clubs as long they take place on the school’s campus.  For example, a Sectional or State level sporting event at a university or private venue may impose other measures.
  • One situation in which masking will still be required involves individuals returning to the school setting following the 5-day isolation period because of COVID positivity.  Those individuals will need to mask in school for an additional 5-days after their release from isolation.  Those individuals who do not wish to mask in the school setting following their isolation period may instead follow a 10-day school exclusion and return to school after the required masking period would have ended.
  • Our maintenance of the social distancing of students in the classroom and cafeteria settings will continue. 
  • Spectator social distancing is still expected as some of our winter teams continue to compete, and spectator distancing in those few remaining indoor events remains important.
  • The school bus setting will reflect the same removal of the mask mandate as the school setting, but given the nature of the bus environment (smaller, enclosed space in which distancing is more challenging), masking while on the bus remains highly recommended.
  • Students who attend CVES and CV-Tech programming may expect the same updated protocols.
  • We currently have a supply of at-home test kits which we are eager to share with families, and will continue to distribute to symptomatic individuals.  Please make a request if you are in need of an at-home test kit and we will do our best to satisfy that request. 
  • If multiple positive concurrent cases arise in the same cohort, such as in a classroom or on a team, the district will attempt to send a test kit home with each student in that cohort – so as to guard against the rise in asymptomatic positive cases.

Change has certainly been the main constant with regards to COVID-19 protocols, and this update will more than likely be modified considering that we are still in anticipation of an official document from the NYSDOH, however I am encouraged that we are moving in the right direction.  Public health officials were quick to caution that their support for this relaxed masking protocol depends entirely on continued decreasing COVID-19 metrics and data, and that future spikes or surges could necessitate the re-introduction of protocols such as masking.  Hang in there, we all hope the pandemic will come to an end soon.

Thank you for your continued support.  Please keep yourself, your family, and our school community safe.

                                                                                                            Educationally Yours,

                                                                                                            James C. Knight, Jr.

                                                                                                            Superintendent of Schools