New York to end school mask mandate on Wednesday
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Sunday that the statewide school mask mandate will be lifted on Wednesday.
In a tweet, Hochul said she decided to lift the mask requirements in schools due to the decline of COVID-19 cases and following the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On Friday, the CDC officially eased its mask recommendation for most Americans, advising that people living in communities with “low” or “medium” COVID-19 levels can go maskless.
“Our top priority has always been keeping kids in school and making sure our classrooms are safe,” Hochul tweeted.
“Now, with COVID cases declining by 98% since the Omicron peak and updated @CDCgov guidance in place, we will lift the statewide school mask requirement this coming Wednesday,” she added.
Hochul added that cities and county governments can still require masks in schools after the statewide order ends, and that parents and guardians can still send their children to school with masks, according to NBC affiliate WNBC.
“We will lift the statewide requirement based on all the data that I’ve just outlined. However, there are some counties in the state that have a higher rate of transmission — we will allow them the flexibility to determine what’s best for their county. We would encourage them to take a look at this and follow the CDC, but this will no longer be a mandate,” Hochul said.
New York follows eight other U.S. states which lifted their mask mandates earlier this month, also citing the recent decrease of COVID-19 cases.
New York City announced Friday that it was lifting its outdoor mask mandate for schools.
“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,” the city’s schools chancellor, David Banks, said in a statement, per WNBC.
“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.”