Districts prepare to make masks optional inside classrooms
Like most school districts in the Mid-Hudson region, White Plains is making masks optional starting Wednesday and dedicating Monday and Tuesday to answering questions and easing minds.
Districts are still waiting for final guidance from the state, but Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Ricca says, for now, making masks optional impacts everything from transportation to the classroom and athletics.
Ricca has been calling for data to support a plan to ease COVID-19 mitigation measures, which he says the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does.
Groups of vocal parents have been calling for this for months, but Ricca acknowledges there are plenty of parents, students, and staff who are still hesitant to unmask.
He says the most important thing he can do is make sure both groups know their decisions are respected.
"For folks who wish to continue to wear masks, they're going to be supported. And for folks who wish to take their masks off, they're going to be supported as well,” says Ricca.
COVID-19 cases in New York continue to level off, as the state's seven-day average of positive cases remains below 2%.