New York to Free School Children from Mask Mandate

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Posted: Feb 27, 2022 3:30 PM
New York to Free School Children from Mask Mandate

Source: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) announced on Sunday afternoon that the statewide mask mandate will be lifted in New York schools as of Wednesday, March 2. 

As the governor noted, however, counties and cities are still able to require masks in school, which sets her apart from some of her Republican counterparts who have sought to place that decision with parents on whether to mask their children.

Further, mask mandates will still be in effect in other settings, such as healthcare settings, shelters, correctional facilities, and public transportation. 

Hochul's Sunday announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Friday updated its guidelines to loosen mask mandates for 70 percent of the country, which includes those in countries at "low" or "medium" risk for the Wuhan coronavirus. 

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released a statement on Friday shortly after the updated guidelines were announced, which she also tweeted out, though Weingarten has restricted replies on virtually all of her tweets. 

"We welcome these long-needed new metrics for a safe off-ramp from universal masking. The CDC’s guidance is informed by science, not politics, and sets us on a path to a new normal in schools and other public places. By using an analysis of hospitalizations in addition to community transmission, school districts, in collaboration with educators, staff, and families, can decide when to ease mask requirements—and we would urge everyone to apply it," Weingarten's statement opened with.

Much of the statement reflected a bold sense of self-congratulations, as the teachers' unions have been among the most vocal calling for mask mandates in schools to remain. 

Weingarten also retweeted Hochul's tweet about lifting of the statewide mask mandate. 

Becky Pringle and the National Education Association (NEA) seemed a little more hesitant, though, to accept the announcements.

As I covered last November, the United States was one of just seven Western nations that still had such mask mandates in place. According to Education Week, before Hochul's announcement was made, New York joined 10 other states and Washington, D.C. in the category of "MASK REQUIREMENT IN EFFECT."