New York ends its mask mandate for schools


Then, on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington issued new guidelines that said masks and social distancing were only necessary in areas where the risk of infection was high, paving the way for the lifting of the ban. many virus prevention measures.

The announcement came as the agency shifted its risk assessment strategy from one based on case counts to one that weighs stress on hospitals by coronavirus patients, as well as new cases for 100,000 people in the previous week. The guidelines dramatically shift the nationwide rating of the virus from one in which 95% of counties were considered high risk to one in which most Americans could resume their lives without masks or social distancing.

Sunday’s announcements were celebrated by many across the state. Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, said the throwbacks were welcome.

“The business community is eager to move beyond pandemic conditions and restrictions,” she said.

And Republicans applauded the news of masks in schools. “Unmasking our school children is a long overdue victory for children and parents, educators and common sense,” said State Sen. Rob Ortt, a Republican and minority leader who has pushed for a return behind the mandate, in a press release.

Although Ms. Hochul’s decision leaves real implementation power to hundreds of school districts across the state, the announcement is a major moment in New York’s wavering efforts to keep its public schools open amid the pandemic. . This is especially true in New York, which first closed its sprawling system of around 1,600 schools in March 2020 and has kept strict virus mitigation measures in place since schools began reopening in September. 2020. The city has lifted its outdoor mask mandate for schools only. last week.

The United Federation of Teachers, which represents teachers in New York, issued a thoughtful note, with its president, Michael Mulgrew, saying the union would “consult with our own independent doctors, review data from take-home and random test kits. in -school tests this week, and make sure all of this is taken into account as New York City reviews its own school masking policy.

And while many support ending terms, the change will almost certainly affect a significant number of New Yorkers who deem it premature. A recent Siena College Research Institute poll found that 58% of registered voters in New York City believe the state should suspend lifting the mask mandate in schools until data is reviewed in early March. That same poll, which was conducted two weeks ago, found that 45% of respondents disapproved of the state’s removal of mask mandates from private businesses.

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