New York announces plans to lift mask mandate in schools

New York is lifting its statewide mask mandate for schoolchildren on March 2, after months of debate and demands from New Yorkers who have been fighting for their kids’ right to attend school without wearing a face covering.

The Post Millennial reported that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) stated on Monday, “The day has come,” Hochul said. “Today, we are going to be announcing that we’ll be lifting the statewide mask requirement in schools.”

Additionally, Gov. Hochul stated on Twitter that the move to rescind the mask mandate in classrooms was due to updated guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Our top priority has always been keeping kids in school and making sure our classrooms are safe,” Hochul stated. “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.” 

Further, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced on Twitter that the Big Apple would possibly be removing its indoor mask mandate for public schools as early as March 7. He stated, “If our numbers continue to show a low level of risk, we will remove the indoor mask mandate for public school students, effective Monday, March 7. We will make a final decision on Friday, March 4.” 

New York state dropped several stringent indoor mask mandates in New York state in February. However, masking is still required in healthcare settings, on public transit, jails, prisons, and adult healthcare facilities, according to The Guardian. 

Further, vaccine mandates have been left in place in New York City up to this point. Mayor Adams announced that New York City would be lifting requirements to show proof of vaccination for indoor activities in the city for ages five and older, possibly by March 7 as well, as reported by News12 Long Island.

According to Adams, the decision to lift the city’s mask and vaccine mandates hinges on whether the “numbers continue to show a low level of risk.”

While the potential rollback on mask mandates in schools is a win for proponents of freedom of choice in New York City and the entire state, Gov. Hochul is still allowing schools and cities to decide to leave the mandates in place if they choose to.

Mayor Adams’ statement to possibly rescind mandates in the Big Apple is ambiguous at best, and it remains to be seen if he will follow through on lifting them next week.

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