FULTON — Fulton school administrators on Thursday announced plans to hold their meetings virtually for the foreseeable future in response to the reaction of some members of the public regarding mask requirements.
School districts statewide have had similar discussions with community members in response to mask mandates.
Earlier this year, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a mask mandate for all school districts throughout the state.
The Fulton City School District (FCSD) Board of Education recently held a special meeting Sept. 30 under the virtual live-streamed meeting policy.
During the board’s regular meeting on Sept. 28, some visitors from the community attended and refused to wear masks, and “compromised” the safety of all spectators and school staff at the meeting, district officials said.
“Our goal is to follow our procedures, which is everyone who comes into our schools wears a mask,” FCSD Superintendent Brian Pulvino said Friday. “We have students on our boards. We had students present and had an expectation in our buildings and unfortunately we had visitors from the outside community that refused to wear masks and comply, and disrupted our business.”
During the Sept. 28 meeting, a few members of the community — some of whom brought signs against masking requirements — raised concerns about the district’s enforcement of the mask requirement while inside school buildings. They said the district’s mask policy infringes on students’ ability to breathe, among other concerns.
According to school officials, when requests were made from administrators for guests to wear masks, discussion ensued and the visitors refused to abide by masking requests, leading to the guests being asked to leave the building.
Masks have been a requirement in all district facilities regardless of vaccination status since August.
District officials have not announced a time the board plans to return to in-person meetings, but will continue to “monitor” COVID’s caseload in the community.
“We will continue to monitor closely all the COVID numbers and everything. I am hoping those go in the other direction soon,” Pulvino said.
According to the Oswego County Health Department, there were more than 500 active COVID-19 cases in the county as of Sept. 27.
“We believe this (virtual meetings) approach will allow more members of our school community to participate in meetings safely, and provides a platform that will be more accessible for many,” school officials said in a Thursday release.
FCSD Board of Education meetings are held biweekly on Tuesdays starting at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 12. For more information, visit www.fultoncsd.org.