ALBANY, NY (AP) – New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Sunday that the statewide masking requirement in schools will be lifted by March 2.
In a briefing held in Albany, the Democrat cited declining COVID-19 cases and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
She said counties and cities could keep their own mandates in place, and parents could still choose to send their kids to school in masks.
The new rules effective Wednesday apply to children 2 years and older in childcare facilities. New York State has 2.7 million schoolchildren, including about 1 million in New York City.
Earlier this month, Hochul let a broad mask mandate for most indoor settings expire, but said the schools requirement would remain in place. She had promised to revisit the schools question by the first week of March.
The broad mask mandate was implemented during a COVID-19 surge fueled by the omicron variant in December.
Masks are still required in some places, including public transit.
The New York State United Teachers union President Andy Pallotta released the following statement after the announcement:
“We welcome this step towards normalcy. The governor is striking the right balance by empowering local officials to use data to determine if and when the mitigation strategies need to change in their areas. As the guidance changes, one thing must remain constant: It’s essential that districts work closely with educators to ensure there is confidence in their health and safety plans. ”
Source: Culled From Healthy Duck.