Health and Safety

Masks and Face Coverings

Face coverings are “strongly recommended” by the New York Department of Health at all times. However, schools can require face coverings at all times, even during instruction.

Spencerport has chosen to require masks, including during instruction, for all students and staff. Exceptions to this include scheduled mask breaks, mealtime, and if a student or staff member has provided appropriate medical documentation.

The Monroe County Department of Health defines a close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of and infected person for at least 15 minutes and one or both of the individuals were not wearing a mask. Therefore, mask breaks need to be short and students must maintain the appropriate social distance during the mask break. 

Mask break protocols

Mask breaks may be provided at the discretion of the teacher or staff member, but the following conditions must occur:

• Students must maintain 6 feet of social distance
• Students should be in their seat and ideally facing the same direction
• Mask break should be limited to approximately 1-2 minutes when not occurring during mealtime
• Students should not be talking during the mask break

Appropriate times for mask breaks include:

• Anytime a student is eating or drinking
• At the beginning or the end of a lesson
• While outside for a class or recess

Acceptable masks and face coverings
Male student wearing acceptable face mask

Sept. 3:  The Monroe County Department of Health and the Finger Lakes Reopening Schools Safely Task Force have issued additional guidance on the types of face coverings that should not be allowed in schools.

Face coverings with exhalation valves, gaiters, scarves, and/or bandanas, will no longer be allowed in school for use by employees or students. (pictured below) This rule goes into effect Sept. 3. Disposable masks are available for your use until you can secure suitable face coverings.

 Not allowed: gaitors, pictured  Not allowed: masks with exhalation valves, pictured
 Bandanas, no longer allowed  Scarves used as masks, no longer allowed

Face shields worn without other appropriate face coverings are not an acceptable alternative. 

Some staff members will need additional personal protective equipment (PPE) at times. Please consult with your school’s medical director or nurse. 

Mask Exemptions

A mask exemption form has been developed by the Monroe County Department of Health. It is being distributed to physician in an effort to provide consistency in the Finger Lakes Region. It can only be completed by a  New York State licensed physician (MD, DO, or Nurse Practitioner (NP), or Physician Assistant (PA), or licensed clinical Psychologist (PhD/PsyD)) Currently, the acceptable diagnoses to justify a mask exemption:

   • A previously documented neuromuscular disorder that makes it difficult for a child to remove a mask themselves, or
   • A child with a previously diagnosed, severe developmental/behavioral problem, or
   • A child with a diagnosis of Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) or other significant mental health problem, currently in the care of a behavioral health team, and it is believed by this team that wearing a face mask would lead to worsening emotional harm.

If the district receive this form from a physician, it will be reviewed and accepted or not accepted by the district’s medical director.

Mask Enforcement

We are currently updating our code of conduct, and its adoption is pending board approval. The district intends to offer trainings about mask expectations and reinforcement when staff report back to work and in the initial days of a return to school.

We understand the importance of wearing masks and it will require all stakeholders to be diligent in monitoring student and staff behavior. We hope to provide updates on a process to reinforce the code of conduct, and how to go about reporting any violation to an adult so that they can intervene.