Breaking News
More () »

Niagara County schools prepare for masking guidance from state

Niagara County health officials are encouraging schools to follow CDC masking guidelines but have not instituted a mask mandate.

NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and health commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein on Monday issued new masking guidance.

According to the county, people will be required to wear masks while indoors regardless of vaccination status. This includes classrooms, non-classroom settings, and on buses. 

As for outdoors, Erie County is strongly recommending masking as well.

Over in Niagara County, things are a bit different, at least for now. 

Niagara County public health director Dan Stapleton had this to say about mask guidelines in schools: 

"We are working very collaboratively with the school superintendents, communicating almost daily and discussing options. The fact is I am recommending they follow CDC guidance and giving suggestions on how to implement that, but the final decisions rest with each school district. That could change if the state follows through with some overarching mandate, as many expect will happen. I have also stressed to our school superintendents that, to the extent possible, they should try to be consistent with each other. So, the Niagara County Health Department will continue to be a resource and partner to help districts make an informed decision."

Mark Laurrie is the Superintendent of Niagara Falls City School District and says the communication among the district, health officials, and families is only increasing as the first day of school nears. 

"We'll also encourage people to watch our YouTube channel where we do a YouTube video that really repeats everything that we've talked about on the auto dialer. In the Summertime I was doing that once or twice a day, probably next week we'll go to daily five times a week, and if need be seven time a week," Laurrie says. 

Laurrie says superintendents throughout Niagara County are fully prepared to go with a metric when it comes to masking and other safety guidelines for their faculty, staff, and students.

"We know we need masks," Laurrie says. "We also need to know thought when we can loosen those restrictions. Even within the county's numbers for Newfane and Niagara Falls, numbers are very different, and that's why we were advocating for the flexibility to do it ourselves. We will however follow the state department health guidelines, mandates, expectations to the letter, we took an oath to do that."

Niagara Falls school will return full-time to in-person learning starting Monday, September 7. Laurrie says, should there be a need to reverse safety rules and regulations, the district has preparations in place.

Before You Leave, Check This Out