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Letter to Governor Hochul re: Vaccine Mandates

December 22, 2021


To the Honorable Governor Hochul:


Thank you for the commitment you have demonstrated to the health and safety of all New Yorkers as we struggle to deal with the issues of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of us in the Commack Union Free School District recognize the challenges of leading a state as diverse as New York. It is in this spirit that we write to you today.


Commack is proud of the dedicated work we have put in to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Our families, faculty, and staff have faithfully followed the mandates and recommendations of the Suffolk County and New York State departments of health (DOH). Our administrators have developed outstanding relationships with DOH staffers and have followed their expert guidance to help ensure that mass transmission has not been identified in our schools. 


We also recognize that not every area of our state has experienced the pandemic in similar ways. While Suffolk County has seen an uptick in community spread, our incidences have been relatively mild when compared to the very serious conditions in other parts of the state. As you know, skyrocketing hospitalization rates in Western New York, for instance, have caused the deferral of non-essential, elective surgical procedures in many local hospitals. Thanks in large part to the collaboration among our Department of Health, our many local institutions, and our school districts, this has not become the reality in Suffolk County. 


As we continue to work hard to mitigate the spread of this virus, we ask that you continue to provide our parents with the choice of making health-care decisions for their own children. Mandating a COVID-19 vaccination for every child has the potential to disrupt the daily routines of our schools, thereby interrupting the educational processes that are so essential to the lives of our children. It seems clear that the potential decision to make vaccines mandatory for students is unnecessary given the effective use of mitigation tools already in place. 


The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff has always been the top priority of the Commack UFSD. We work hard, in partnership with our parents and community members, to care for the social, emotional, and physical needs of our children while simultaneously providing an exemplary academic experience. We respectfully request that you consider allowing parents the choice to consult with their local practitioners and trusted medical professionals to determine health-related decisions for their children. 




David Flatley, Interim Superintendent

Commack Union Free School District


Steve Hartman, Board of Education President                               Justin Varughese, Vice President


William Hender, Trustee                                                                    Susan Hermer, Trustee


Gus Hueber, Trustee


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