SARATOGA SPRINGS — Recent developments in the statewide indoor face mask mandate resulted in concern at a city elementary school that prompted a police response.
After a day of confusion, face masks were back in schools across the state Wednesday, after an appeals judge restored New York’s mask order the previous day.
On Monday, a judge in a lower court ruled that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration lacked the authority to mandate that people wear masks while indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The local concern centered on posts made on the Facebook group Moving Saratoga Forward regarding the court developments.
The Facebook group criticized a teacher at Caroline Street Elementary School who had given a student a mask to wear.
The post on the group made a claim that had alleged the teacher had dragged in “any student that walks in without a mask to the office, making them cry.”
Police said in a statement that the claim could not be substantiated.
“At the conclusion of the investigation, it was determined we were unable to substantiate allegations as they were portrayed on social media,” police continued.
“Although the calls served no true purpose and were questionable in content, they did not rise to a criminal level,” police said.
“The Saratoga Springs Police Department stands in solidarity with the Saratoga Springs School District in support of a safe and welcoming environment in all schools.”
Caroline Street Elementary School Principal Daniel Packard said in the statement:
“It is important for our school district to address misinformation that is being shared on social media regarding an interaction that occurred yesterday morning at Caroline Street Elementary School. Yesterday morning, a student not wearing a face mask was walking through the hallway and a staff member reminded the student to wear a mask. Given the prior day’s court ruling regarding masks, the student was under the impression masks were no longer required. The teacher went to the office with the child to learn if the mask policy had changed. The main office advised the teacher and student that masks were still required per NYSED (New York State Department of Education). Staff then provided a mask to the child. The staff member was professional and courteous throughout this interaction and followed all school protocols.”
Packard’s statement went on to ask staff, parents and students to “be patient and work with us as these legal issues are resolved at the state level.”
The Facebook group Moving Saratoga Forward, which bills itself a news, politics, opinion and culture forum, included a statement by U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, which read, “any parent or student that is told they cannot attend school in her district if they do not wear a mask should contact my office.”
Stefanik, a member of the House Education and Labor Committee also posted that her office was fielding calls from parents whose children were informing them their children were kept from entering school for not wearing a mask.
Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.
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