Governor Kathy Hochul announced Sunday that New York will no longer require students and educators to wear face masks in schools starting Sunday, a major milestone in the nation’s two-year struggle. state against the coronavirus pandemic and is a welcome sign of the virus’s retreat.
“My friends, the day has come,” Ms. Hochul said, recalling that the decision was made in consultation with public health and education officials. The state’s decision does not supersede the decisions of individual counties and counties, which may still impose mask regulations and other more restrictive measures.
Eric Adams, the mayor of New York City, has said for weeks that he is eager to remove virus-related restrictions across the city, including mask regulations in schools and, With the lowest cases for the month, it looks like the nation’s largest school district will follow the state’s example.
Representatives for the mayor and the city’s Department of Education did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In making her announcement, Ms. Hochul said that the mission was an important aid in combating the rise of Omicrons. “When I look back at what happened just a short time ago, I’m glad we made a request for masks to schools at the time,” Ms. Hochul said. “That’s how we keep these numbers from getting worse.”
The decision was made a day later New York announced The statewide seven-day average positivity rate is less than 2 percent and first-time hospitalizations are less than 2,000 people since before the Omicron rise. The drop is part of country decrease in coronavirus cases. Across the state, hospitals were forced to restrict elective procedures due to the approved virus in order to resume normal operations.
The announcement about the schools seemed poised to end a bitter and divisive chapter in the state’s pandemic history. Schools are increasingly becoming battlegrounds in a polarizing national dialogue between teachers, parents, students and politicians about the appropriate measures to protect against the virus.
Hochul has been under pressure to rescind state regulations on wearing face masks in schools since she allowed businesses to be commissioned earlier this month. At the time, the governor promised to revisit the question of face masks in schools after students returned from mid-winter break in early March, but find myself under increased pressure after being around states with Democratic governors, including Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware, announced the plan to enhance their mission.
Then on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington new guide release that masks and social distancing are only necessary in places with a high risk of infection, setting the stage for the lifting of many virus prevention measures, including the wearing of masks in schools.
That announcement comes as the agency changes its risk assessment strategy from one based on case numbers to one that stresses hospitals by coronavirus patients, as well as new cases per 100,000. people last week. Guidance marked change nationwide virus assessment from one in which 95 percent of counties are considered high risk to one in which most Americans can continue their lives without face coverings or social distancing festival.
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Sunday’s announcement is expected to be celebrated by many across the state. State Senator Rob Ortt, a Republican and minority leader who has pushed for the rollback, said in a statement: “Exposing our school kids is one Overdue victory for children and parents, educators and common sense.
While Hochul’s decision leaves actual enforcement power to hundreds of the state’s school districts, the announcement marks a pivotal moment in New York’s pausing effort to keep public schools open. door in the middle of a pandemic. That’s especially true in New York City, which first closed the system extensively to about 1,600 schools in March 2020 and has put in place strict virus mitigation measures since schools began. began reopening in September 2020. The city only lifted the requirement to wear masks outdoors for schools. last week.
Andrew Pallotta of the New York State Federation of Teachers welcomed the governor’s announcement, saying: “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 mitigation strategies need to change in their areas. “
And while many parents support ending mandates, the change will almost certainly concern some families and educators, who believe it’s too soon. ONE recent poll from the Siena College Research Institute, found that 58 percent of registered voters in New York believe the state should hold off on lifting face masks in schools until it reviews data from early March. The same poll, conducted two weeks ago, found that 45% of respondents disapproved of the state’s revocation of mask regulations in private businesses.
The state’s ability to impose those duties is subject to a pending action in state court. Last month, Justice Thomas Rademaker of Nassau County struck down mask duty is unconstitutional. New York State Attorney General Letitia James immediately filed an appeal against the ruling, and powers were restored pending the outcome of the appeal. That case, seen as a test of state power, is expected to continue despite Ms. Hochul’s decision.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/27/nyregion/new-york-mask-mandate-schools.html New York ends masking mission for schools