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Masks are still required in New York schools

Jun 07, 2021 6:33 am

Joseph Spector reports in the Democrat and Chronicle that masks are still required for children in New York schools, for now. Hours before a right-wing "Unmask Our Children" rally in Albany on June 5, on Friday Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Department of Health notified the Centers for Disease Control that New York is lifting its statewide mask requirement for schools on June 7. "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. But the announcement was made just as a weekend was beginning, and New York did not get an immediate federal response. So, instead, the Education Department announced on June 6 that, "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." Was it all a delay tactic to take the wind out of the rally's sails? Republican Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin was on the speaker's list for that rally, and made this statement as the Democratic governor made the decision he wanted. "Commercials run, rally publicized, National News coverage that he knows is happening tomorrow to talk about the issue..... and what’dya know.... @NYGovCuomo #GovernorGutless caves like he always does. So transparent. So incredibly weak." Then Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, also a Republican, said parents know more about about global pandemics than scientists trained to study the issue. "This decision should be put in the hands [of] parents who know their children and circumstances best,” he wrote, both criticizing and agreeing with the Cuomo administration. The New York State United Teachers Union, who are also not scientists, made a statement taking no position on the issue. "Short of any additional guidance from the state or the CDC before Monday, we implore school districts to closely evaluate local conditions and connect with their educators and parents to decide the best course of action for protecting their school community," their statement read in part. Read more about this story in the Democrat and Chronicle.

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