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Hochul directing DoH to mandate masks in schools

Aug 25, 2021 6:00 am

Rachel Silberstein is reporting for the Times Union that Gov. Kathy Hochul announced August 24, that as one of her first acts as chief executive, she is directing the Department of Health to put into effect universal masking for anyone entering schools statewide. The move was applauded by organizations that represent administrators and teachers. Hochul said she is working to establish a vaccination policy for teachers and school staff across the state, and suggested schools require the vaccines but allow personnel to opt out by getting tested for the virus weekly. Hochul said she will announce a series of policies later in the week "that are concise and consistent, giving schools what they have been asking for." Lack of direction from the state Department of Health on masking has led to tense showdowns at school board meetings throughout New York. The state Education Department put out recommendations that did little to appease a growing contingent of parents who feel strongly that masks are bad for children, while other parents believe COVID-19 is bad for children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended universal masking in light of the circulating COVID-19 delta variant, which has been blamed for a nationwide increase in coronavirus cases. “We welcome Governor Hochul’s decision to go forward with a statewide mask requirement for schools," New York State Council of School Superintendents Executive Director Charles Dedrick said in the statement. "Throughout the pandemic, we have asked state officials to give us flexibility on educational matters, but to give us clear state rules on issues of protecting the health of our students and our employees." New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta also expressed support for Hochul’s announcements. The union supports the governor’s move to require regular COVID-19 testing for not yet vaccinated teachers and staff, as well. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

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