State Watch

New York City schools drop outdoor mask mandate, keep indoor mandate

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New York City public schools will no longer require students and staff to wear masks outdoors on school property, though indoor mask mandates will remain in place.

Local news outlet NY1 reported that the new policy will go into effect on Monday and will allow students and staff to remove their masks during outdoor activities such as gym class or recess.

“Throughout the pandemic, our schools have remained some of the safest spaces for our students and staff, thanks to our gold standard health and safety protocol,” New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks said in a statement, according to NY1. “I am so pleased that we are able to make this exciting announcement and safely allow students and staff to remove their masks when outdoors at NYC public schools.”

NY1 reported that New York schools had previously required all staff and students to keep their masks on at all times on school grounds, even if they were outdoors. In recent months, parents have questioned the requirement, noting that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance has said that people do not generally need to wear masks in outdoor settings.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) told the news outlet that his administration is aligned with the science when it comes to deciding on easing mandates.

“You saw the schools chancellor stated that no more masks outdoors and we are going to eventually, in the next few weeks, look at releasing some of the other mandates that are in place,” Adams said on NY1’s “Mornings on 1.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said that she will look at the data from student COVID-19 tests after they return from February break in order to decide if she will lift the state’s school mask mandate, according to NY1.

Tags COVID-19 covid-19 restrictions Kathy Hochul New York New York City school mask mandate

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