New York Gov. Hochul: School Mask Mandate Can Be Lifted When ‘Parents Do the Right Thing’ and Vaccinate Their Children

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11: New York Governor Kathy Hochul attends the annual Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan after it was canceled last year due to the pandemic on October 11, 2021 in New York City. Hundreds of people cheered from the sidewalks as local politicians, high school …
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The school mask mandate in New York State can only be lifted after parents “do the right thing” and vaccinate their children, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) suggested this week.

Interim guidance for in-person instruction, issued June 7, 2021, states that masks should be required in school facilities, requiring them to be “worn by all individuals in all classroom and non-classroom settings, including but not limited to hallways, school offices, restrooms, gyms, auditoriums, etc.”

While masks are not required outdoors, schools may choose to require them in such scenarios. 

Currently, there is no end in sight for the school mask mandate. Rather, Hochul is placing the burden on the parents, suggesting the they must get their children vaccinated if they want to return to a state of maskless, pre-pandemic normalcy. 

“If parents do the right thing all over the state, get their kids vaccinated. There will come a time when there’s no reason to wear a mask, that every child is safe. But we need compliance,” she said during an appearance on WNYW’s Good Day New York this week.

“And in some communities it’s stronger than others. So let’s get the kids vaccinated. I don’t have a date. I’m not going to prejudge this,” she said, failing to even offer a rough timeline and suggestion it all hinges on compliance. “There’s no way I can know.”

“I need to know how people are doing, are a lot of people getting vaccinated, or is there an early rush and then it plateaus and then half the kids in the class aren’t protected. That’s what I’m watching. I’m always driven by the numbers. So that’s why I can’t say, ‘on this date, we’re going to do X,'” Hochul added.

Her remarks follow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizing the emergency use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds.

According to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), among states reporting, 0.1 percent – 2 percent of all child coronavirus cases resulted in hospitalization. Similarly, in states reporting, (45 states as well as New York City, Guam, and Puerto Rico), 0.00 percent to 0.03 percent of all child coronavirus cases resulted in death. 

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