Central Square School District Prepares for Optional Masks CNY County School District Will Have CDC-Focused Plan For The Fall

Central Square School District is the only Oswego district with a fall plan.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — The Central Square School District is implementing a mostly mask-optional Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-inspired plan ready for the fall.

Superintendent Tom Colabufo’s plan will go into effect when school starts Sept. 7 and is dependent on each rate of community transmission per the CDC.

  • Low (0-9.99 new cases average per week): masks optional for all students and staff irrelevant of vaccination status
  • Moderate (10-49.99): masks optional for all students, masks optional for only fully vaccinated staff
  • Substantial (50-99.99): masks optional for all students, all staff must wear a mask
  • High (100+): masks required for everyone regardless of vaccination status.
The front sign of the Central Square Middle School
The Central Square School District teaches 4,884 students, and Central Square Middle School, its only middle school, teaches 1,764 of them.
© 2021 Jack Wallace

Colabufo said the current substantial case rate still would not mandate student mask-wearing because there is a very high COVID-19 concentration in adults compared to children.

“A lot of the cases we saw last year and what we’re seeing over the summer, they’re adults,” Colabufo said. “Ironically enough, there was never a situation where we could decisively say, nor the health department, that a child that was a positive gave it to another child in their class.”

The parent feedback to the plans has been mostly positive, but some backlash remains.

“An overwhelming number of parents thanked me for giving their children the choice,” Colabufo said.

The superintendent added that many of these parents will likely not be as happy with mandated mask-wearing if COVID-19 cases increase, but he added ‘that’s still what we’re going to do though’.

Colabufo said he understands and respects parents’ frustrations.

He leaves the district’s Facebook comment sections open to comments and criticism.

The front entrance of the Paul V. Moore High School
The Paul V. Moore High School is one of seven Oswego County schools in the Central Square School District.
© 2021 Jack Wallace

“I respect those parents that call me up,” Colabufo said. “I gave my work cellphone out in the beginning of the pandemic, I’ll take those calls.”

Colabufo said his decision is a quick one, four weeks before the fall semester begins. Yet, he said he believes this is the right move.


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