Change in mask mandates beginning Monday, March 7

Dear Families,

This has been a week of significant news both globally and locally.  I am sure that you share my outrage and horror about what is happening in Ukraine and the uptick in anti-Asian violence around the city.  I will address how our community is responding to these events in my letter next week.  Still, I wanted to acknowledge these terrible events and their impact, especially on our Asian American children and families.  A parent shared an excellent article, “War, Crisis, Tragedy: How to talk with kids when the news is scary,” to support conversations with your children about what is happening.  

Today, mayor Adams announced that masks will become optional for all K-12 students and staff beginning Monday, March 7th.  However,  pre-K students will continue to wear masks since children under the age of five are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.  Other COVID safety measures like weekly random testing, daily screeners, increased ventilation, and test kit distribution will continue. 

The decision to not wear masks at school is a personal one that families and staff need to make based on their unique circumstances and individual risk calculations.  For example, families and staff must assess factors such as their sense of comfort and safety, vaccination status, underlying medical conditions, and pregnancy.  Additionally, they may consider family, colleagues, or high-risk classmates or cannot get vaccinated.  We understand the complexity of this decision and respect all our families and staff’s decision to do what is best for them and their loved ones.  

I want to share some data to help you make informed decisions about what is best for you and your family.  Our current school data, available publicly, shows that 81% of our students have received one or both doses of the COVID vaccination.  STAR Academy’s (the school we share the building with) vaccination rate is 45%.  If you have not yet uploaded your child’s vaccination status, please do so at https://vaccine.schools.nyc/.  Also, if you have not yet gotten your child vaccinated, you may want to consider doing so at this time as the mask mandate is lifted.

Teachers and students will talk about masks today.  

Thank you for keeping our community safe and inclusive.  It is imperative that all community members respect each other’s decisions on this issue. 

Warmly,

Dyanthe

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