Path to Normalcy

Path to Normalcy
Posted on 01/28/2022
To see a PDF version click here.

Governor Kathy Hochul Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH
Executive Chamber Commissioner
Albany, New York 12224 New York State Department of Health
Empire State Plaza
Corning Tower
Albany, New York 12203

Dear Governor Hochul and Commissioner Bassett,

As you are aware, the last two years have brought forth a number of challenges for every
government agency, business, and citizen in New York State. We can all be proud of the
way our communities have responded to the COVID crisis and how our citizenry have
responded to keep their neighbors healthy.

As school leaders, we are especially proud of the way in which our students and their
families have worked with us to keep our schools open for in-person instruction to the
greatest extent possible. The flexibility and understanding that our families and students
have demonstrated has been extraordinary and, with their partnership, we can
affirmatively state that the safest place for the children we serve was within our schools.

From our perspective, it is now time to forge ahead, and to develop a “Pathway to
Normalcy”. In speaking with our families, the consistent message we receive is how they
need to get back to normal. Frankly, they need more consistency from their schools, and
we agree with that concept. Therefore, we are asking the state to consider working with
school leaders to develop a “Pathway to Normalcy”, which consists of the following key

Roadmap on Masking: While we all understand the need for masking during high rates of
transmission, providing specific metrics for when this requirement can be optional as
transmission rates decrease or vaccination rates reach a certain threshold is essential to
maintaining our focus on teaching and learning.

Seeing the Whole Student: After school and extracurricular activities are an essential
component of education and a lifeline that brings many of our students to school and these
activities have never been more important for our students. However, the current
guidelines make participation a significant challenge given the vaccination requirements.
We support and advocate vaccination efforts within our communities, however there is a
disconnect of logic between school day events (e.g., PE class, student group work) and
after school events (e.g., chess club, athletics) which makes it very difficult to explain to
our parents and caregivers.

We would like to thank you for the changes you have already made to the state's
procedures, allowing more students to remain in school and for the millions of tests you
have made available to schools across the state. In doing so, this allows us to continue to
work with families, keep sick children home, and to provide families with the necessary
resources to make informed decisions about children who are symptomatic. In the
meantime, we will continue to work with the families we serve to understand the need for
higher vaccination rates.

Superintendent of Schools in the WSWHE BOCES region
Michael Healey, Argyle CSD
Michael Markwica, Johnsburg CSD
Kenneth Slentz, Ballston Spa CSD
Douglas Huntley, Interim, Lake George CSD
Michael Graney, Bolton CSD
Bruce Potter, Mechanicville City SD
Dr. Douglas Silvernell, Cambridge CSD
Kyle McFarland, Minerva CSD
Dr. Mark Stratton, Corinth CSD
Christian Fisher, Newcomb CSD
Justin Hoskins, Fort Ann CSD
Michele French, North Warren CSD
Mark Bessen, Interim, Fort Edward UFSD
Kyle Gannon, Queensbury UFSD
Dr. Brita Donovan, Galway CSD
Mark Doody, Interim, Salem CSD
Paul Jenkins, Glens Falls City SD
Dr. Michael Patton, Saratoga Springs City SD
Brian George, Glens Falls Common
Dr. Ryan Sherman, Schuylerville CSD
Thomas McGurl, Granville CSD
Kristine Orr, South Glens Falls CSD
Mark Fish, Greenwich CSD
Patricia Morris, Stillwater CSD
Beecher Baker, Hadley Luzerne CSD
Amy Langworthy, Warrensburg CSD
Andrew Cook, Hartford CSD
Patrick Pomerville, Waterford-Halfmoon UFSD
Daniel Ward, Hudson Falls CSD
Patrick Dee, Whitehall CSD
David Snide, Indian Lake CSD

cc: James P. Dexter, District Superintendent, WSWEH Supervisory District
Dr. Betty A. Rosa, New York State Commissioner of Education
Tina McDougall, Washington County Public Health Services
Cathy Medick, Saratoga County Public Health Services
Daniel Kuhles, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner Saratoga County Public Health Services
Ginelle Jones, Warren County Public Health
Erica Mahoney, Hamilton County Public Health
Linda Beers, Essex County Health Department
Elizabeth F. Whalen, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner Albany County Department of Health
Keith Brown, Director of Public Health Schenectady County
Dr. Amy Gildemeister, Ph.D, Director of Public Health Schoharie County

Members of the New York State Assembly
Jake Ashby Robert Smullen
Michael Benedetto Phil Steck
Patricia Fahy Christopher Tague
John McDonald Mary Beth Walsh
Angelo Santabarbara Carrie Woerner
Matthew Simpson

Members New York State Senate
Neil Breslin
Michelle Hinchey
Daphne Jordan
Shelly Mayer
Peter Oberacker
Dan Stec
James Tedisco