New York City, NY

Masks Still Required in NY Schools for now as officials seek more guidance

Desiree Peralta

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New York's mask requirement for public schools will continue unchanged, as the state awaits further guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to ABC NY.

On Sunday, the Department of Education sent a letter to school administrators informing them that while they have not heard back from the CDC, mask requirements will remain to give the agency more time to respond.

In the letter, state health leaders had told the CDC that mask use in schools will be strongly encouraged but no longer required.

"No changes have been, or will be, made by the Executive until after Monday, June 7 to afford the CDC an opportunity to respond to the letter," the Education Department wrote.

The updated guidance from the Education Department appears aimed at addressing confusion from schools after the state Department of Health on Friday abruptly notified the CDC that New York intends to lift its statewide mask requirement for schools on Monday.

"If there is any data or science that you are aware of that contradicts moving forward with this approach, please let me know as soon as possible. We plan to make this guidance effective on Monday, June 7," Health Commissioner Howard Zucker wrote to the CDC.

“The recommendation to continue with these prevention strategies is based on youth aged 12-15 not being able to be fully vaccinated before the end of the current school year and youth under 12 not yet being eligible for vaccinations,” Public Affairs Specialist Jade Fulce also said in an email. “Additionally, schools need time to make systems and policy adjustments.”

NYC breaks record for lowest positivity rate since pandemic began.

New York City, which during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of last year became the 'epicenter of the epicenter' with the highest numbers of infections and deaths in the entire country, broke again a new record this Thursday by registering the lowest positivity rate since the health crisis began, with only 0.81%.

That record was achieved, as announced with great enthusiasm by Mayor Bill de Blasio, as more and more New Yorkers are getting vaccinated. “Now more than half of the city's population has received at least one dose. And these numbers are very powerful, because they are evidence of how vaccination works, because we are now reaching a new record with the lowest levels of Covid since the start of the pandemic."

De Blasio emphatically insisted that this has been achieved "because people are getting vaccinated, and the progress we have made thanks to that is impressive."

From January, new cases of coronavirus have dropped by 95%; in the same period, the positivity rate has decreased by 91%; while hospitalizations have been reduced by 69%.

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