January 25, 2022 

Dear Hastings Families and Staff, 

I am following up on my earlier statement today that mask mandates continue in the Hastings Public Schools. Several area districts sent letters with more detail, providing helpful clarifications of the ongoing legal steps and the immediate impact on students and staff. I have modified these letters for Hastings. 

To review, there was an announcement late last night that the state mask mandate has been struck down by the Nassau County Supreme Court. Subsequently, the State Department of Health, through the Attorney General, has filed a notice of appeal to the court’s order. The New York State Education Department and our School District Counsel have indicated that the moment the motion was filed, an automatic stay on the lower court’s ruling was put into force and effect until the appellate court hears the State’s appeal. 

I recognize that this ruling, and the legal back and forth, have been confusing for our staff and families. I appreciate the fast work by building administrators and PTSA/SEPTA leaders to send out my short communication that the mask mandate continues in Hastings schools. This shared effort minimized confusion at the start of school today regarding masks. 

The Hastings Public Schools adheres to all New York State laws and regulations pertaining to public schools. While we recognize that some parents and community members have different views regarding masking in school, the State’s appeal effectively maintains the State’s masking policy. Accordingly, masking within the Hastings school facilities and on school transportation remains in force and effect. Please be advised that all members of the Hastings school community must continue to follow the State’s requirements until this legal matter is resolved. 

Please be advised that this guidance may change again quickly. Given the legal process, changes to masking requirements in schools could happen at any time. We will monitor this evolving situation to alert you to any changes to this decision. In the meantime, please understand that any final and formal changes to COVID-19 policies and procedures will be announced by my office. 

I appreciate the respectful way we are treating each other during a process that can be divisive. Differences are natural; differing with respect should be our signature. Thank you in advance for your patience. 

Be well. 

William S. McKersie, Ph.D. 

Superintendent of Schools