covid update

Dear Coxsackie-Athens School Community,

We look forward to seeing everyone back tomorrow after our winter break. As you may have seen, late Friday, the CDC recommended easing mask guidelines in public places, including schools.  

At a press conference this afternoon, the Governor announced the end of the mask mandate in schools, effective Wednesday, March 2. She cited declining metrics for making this decision, including a decrease in COVID cases and hospitalizations, as well as the new guidance from the CDC on Friday.

As public officials, we must follow laws and regulations regarding health mandates. As a result, masks are still required in school and on the school bus on Monday and Tuesday as we await to review and implement new school guidance. Starting Wednesday, masks will be a personal choice in our schools. Although we still recommend the use of masks when applicable, we respect everyone’s right to choose for themselves.

We ask parents and guardians to speak with their child about personal choice and respect for each other’s personal decisions. We will not tolerate any bullying of students or staff who choose to continue to wear a mask or those who choose not to wear a mask. 

We understand that this announcement may have a mixed reaction from parents, students and staff. A recent Siena College Research Institute poll found that 58 percent of respondents said the state should wait for early March data before deciding whether to lift the school mask mandate.  

I and the board of education have advocated on behalf of our school community for a path forward, including a timeline so that we can prepare our students, families, and staff members. Yesterday, I joined superintendents in our region in sending another request to state officials asking that they implement any new measures before students return from winter recess on Monday, February 28. 

Students are encouraged to advocate before or after school at a public location offsite and to write letters to their representatives and/or the governor in an effort to have their voices heard at the state level, the actual entity with the authority to affect any change to the mask mandate or other state mandates relating to schools. 

Our schools also distribute at-home test kits to families - a mitigation tool that was scarcely available in the past. We encourage families to test their child this evening prior to sending them back to school tomorrow, February 28. Anyone testing positive should isolate at home and contact their school’s office.

Thank you for your continued patience, cooperation and understanding. We will share additional information on the new guidance as soon as it is available.


Randy Squier 
Superintendent of Schools