ALBANY, NY – New York’s authorization for indoor masks will remain in effect from now on after an appeals court judge on Tuesday blocked a lower court ruling from a day earlier that abruptly rescinded the policy and created confusion between schools and businesses.
Decide on Tuesday to a day after the judgment of Justice Thomas Rademakerof the State Supreme Court in Nassau County, who said the mask-requiring rule violated the State Constitution.
His ruling abruptly invalidated part of a rule imposed by Governor Kathy Hochul last month, amid a surge in coronavirus cases caused by the Omicron variant, which requires masks or Evidence of complete immunization in all indoor public spaces throughout the state.
Hochul immediately announced she would fight the decision, with Letitia James, the state attorney general, filing a motion to uphold the ruling in an attempt to suspend it while the state files a formal appeal.
On Tuesday afternoon, after a brief hearing, Justice Robert J. Miller, the state appeals court judge, sided with the state and granted the stay, allowing the temporary mask rule to go into effect again. . Justice Miller has given the parties until Friday to file additional paperwork as he considers the appeal.
Hochul, a Democrat, applauded the appeals court on Tuesday “for taking the right side and granting the temporary stay to uphold the state’s key mask regulations.”
Despite the amnesty, the ruling caused a state-wide unrest at a time when New York is still grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. It left parents and teachers scrambling to decipher whether children were required to wear masks in schools, and it revived political hot spots over mask-wearing, as parties The state’s top Republicans celebrated the original ruling on Monday.
While officials said the ruling only affects the state’s mask-wearing rule and does not replace any local or federal rules surrounding mask-wearing, state officials have argued controversy Monday night to let hundreds of school districts know that they should continue to follow the mask rule while the legal issues are ironed out.
Before allowing the stay, several schools, particularly on Long Island, where masked missions have become particularly divisive, said they would consider Justice Rademaker’s decision as a license to change. their policy. They informed parents through late-night and early-morning posts on their website and social media pages that masks would be optional for staff and students on Tuesday.
John Stimmel, superintendent of public schools in Sayville, a village in Suffolk County, said he has received “hundreds” of emails from people concerned about the mask policy, but schools in his county will set the mask arbitrarily.
Brei DelGiudice, 44, a mother of two school-going children, said she and other families were upset when the Plainedge Union Free School District, in Nassau County, announced the sudden wearing of masks would is optional starting Tuesday. She said her 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son, who have both been vaccinated, will continue to wear masks in class because “they definitely feel safer wearing it”.
Ms. DelGiudice said: “Some parents posted on social media like ‘Great, free! “. “And the rest of us were all like, ‘What are you waiting for? What does that mean? How will we work together?'”
The Rockville Center School District, also on Long Island, told parents at 10 p.m. Monday that wearing a mask would be optional. By 7 a.m. Tuesday, parents received another email that revised the notification and reinstated the mandatory masking policy.
Rachel Price Ferrick, 43, who has children in the area aged 6 and 8, said she sent her children to school wearing masks but the quick turnaround led to confusion.
She said she believes her children have fallen behind in reading and social skills in part because the masks have limited their classroom interactions.
“At this point, if you have chosen not to vaccinate yourself, that is your choice, but you are your own,” said Ms. “It can’t fall on our children’s shoulders anymore.”
Other school districts were more hesitant to immediately drop face mask requirements, including in North Colonie, near Albany, where officials say Tuesday that the district will continue to require masks in schools.
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The ruling also does not appear to reverse local mandates. In New York City, for example, City Hall officials emphasized that the policy of requiring students and staff to wear face masks in the city’s schools, was introduced prior to state authorization. , is still in effect.
For its part, the Metropolitan Transport Authority sought to reassure riders that the ruling does not affect the city’s metro and buses, or trains commuting in the area, noting that Federal regulations require masks to be worn on public transit.
The team of volunteers wears the yellow uniform of the state system, called the Mask Forcelaunched on Tuesday to hand out free masks to riders.
Justice Rademakerwho ran as a Democrat and a Republican, as well as on Conservative Party line, was elected to the Supreme Court in Nassau County in 2019. The New York Supreme Court is the highest trial court in the state, but not the final court; The Court of Appeal is the highest court.
The case before Justice Rademaker involved mask-related issues in the school, but he was more concerned with Miss Hochul’s mask-wearing rule. He pointed to a six-page ruling about the fact that lawmakers had reduce emergency powers they were temporarily granted to law enforcement to respond to the pandemic while former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was in office.
Therefore, he said, Ms. Hochul, who replaced Mr. Cuomo after he resigned in August, needed the consent of state lawmakers to impose the mask rule, even if her intentions were to “with good intentions”.
The Omicron rise has dwindled in New York, but it’s not over yet. An average of about 20,000 people in the state are now testing positive for coronavirus each day, a sharp drop from the peak of the spike of 90,000 people who tested positive on Jan. 7. The positivity rate has also halved, from more than 22. percent to 10 percent.
Hospitals are still under strain, and while hospitalizations are beginning to decline, they are still higher than at any point since May 2020. More than 130 people a day have died from the virus across the country. state.
Ashley Wong, Precious Fondren, Lola Fadulu and Michael Gold contribution report.
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