Coronavirus News: Long Island school board votes in favor of mandatory mask policy

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Kristin Thorne Image
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Locust Valley School Board votes in favor of mask mandate
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Kristin Thorne reports the Locust Valley School Board has voted to keep the mask mandate.

LOCUST VALLEY, Long Island (WABC) -- Students in the Locust Valley School District will definitively have to wear masks to the first day of school Wednesday after the district's Board of Education received a threatening letter from the New York State Education Commissioner.

The Locust Valley School Board voted Monday to revise its school reopening plan to include the mandatory wearing of masks.

On August 17, 10 days before the New York State Department of Health issued the universal mask mandate for schools, the board voted to allow parents to decide whether their child wears a mask to school.

The board also voted Monday night to hire an attorney to fight the state's universal mask mandate for schools.

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The Locust Valley School Board said after Monday night's board meeting it received a letter from state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa. The board read it to an audience of parents and students Tuesday evening.

"It is my expectation that the Board will set an example for its students by following the law. If not, however, you have been fairly warned of the potential consequences," the letter read.

The consequences, according to the letter, include restriction of state funding for the Locust Valley school system and removal of school board members and the superintendent.

The lawyer for the school board told the audience that the state health department's emergency regulation requiring masks in schools for the next 90 days is, in his law firm's opinion, as good as law and can be enforced as such.

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Some parents in the audience of the auditorium of Locust Valley High School expressed their displeasure at the board's decision to backdown from the state. Others cheered when the board discussed its intention to follow the mask mandate for students.

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