New York State to Lift Mask Mandate in Schools on March 2nd!

Dear Commons Community,

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced yesterday that the statewide masking requirement in schools will be lifted by March 2.

In a briefing held in Albany, Hochul 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.

In response to Hochul’s announcement, New York City will lift its indoor mask mandate for public school students and “Key to NYC” requirements on Monday, March 7 if the five boroughs continue to see a “low level” of COVID-19 risk, Mayor Eric Adams said yesterday.

Adams is expected to formally announce the news on Friday, he said in a press release.

The city’s Key to NYC rules require restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues to ask patrons and customers for proof of vaccination.

“Our schools have been among the safest places for our children since the beginning of the pandemic, and we will continue to make the proper public health decisions to keep our kids safe, including making masks available for any child or school staff member who wishes to continue wearing them,” Adams said in a statement. 

Lifting the Key to NYC requirements on March 7 “will give business owners the time to adapt and will allow us to ensure we are making the best public health decisions for the people of New York,” he added. 

The city’s other vaccine mandates, including its private sector mandate, “will remain in place at this time as they are, and have been, vital to protecting New Yorkers,” the mayor noted.

Good moves on the part of the governor and mayor!



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