Hochul Expected to Drop Mask Mandate Today, Changes Coming for Schools
Governor Hochul will announce today that the indoor mask mandate is over.
Several news outlets are reporting that the Governor will announce a drastic change to the state's stance on indoor mask-wearing. The Hudson Valley, as well as all of New York State, has been masking up for two years. While many have become used to it, others have been vocal about their opposition to mandatory mask rules.
Mandatory rules were put back in place two months ago as cases began to rise thanks to the omicron variant. After the state announced that they would be mandating indoor mask use, some local counties pushed back, saying they would not enforce the rule. Dutchess County Executive, Marc Molinaro, who announced he's running for congress, was one of the most vocal opponents of the mandate.
The New York Times and Daily News, among others, are citing sources that the governor will allow the mask mandate to lapse on Thursday when it is set to expire.
Hochul's decision on masks in schools also looks like it could be changing very soon. On Tuesday the governor met with school superintendents, teachers, and parents to discuss rolling back mask rules for students.
Many leaders present at the meeting hinted that Hochul is poised to make some changes. New York State Council of School Superintendents Executive Director Charles Dedrick said, "We believe that thoughtful changes to state requirements now can help sustain public acceptance of whatever requirements might remain necessary." Council of School Supervisors and Administrators Mark F. Cannizzaro added that he was "hopeful that circumstances will soon allow for an easing of restrictions while maintaining a safe environment for students and staff."
It's not expected for Hochul to completely eliminate the mask mandate for schools in her announcement later today, but an easing of the rules may be forthcoming. Some have speculated that vaccinated children may be the first to be able to unmask in the classroom.
Hochul once again stressed the need for children to get vaccinated after yesterday's meeting.
Keeping schools open has always been my top priority, and I want to thank the teachers, administrators, and parents who joined me today to hear directly from them. I want to also remind parents and guardians to please get their children vaccinated, and boosted if eligible. The vaccine is safe, free, doctor-approved and the key to keeping our communities and vulnerable loved ones safe.
Tuesday marked the state's lowest COVID case rate since the end of November.