– New York state will end its mask mandate for schools and childcare facilities on Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul said, citing a steep drop in COVID-19 cases.
“It wasn’t always easy, but students, educators and parents stepped up to fight this pandemic,” Hochul tweeted on Sunday. “We’ve reached this exciting milestone because of your hard work.”
The new rules come after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday eased guidelines for indoor masking across most of the country.
The CDC’s latest school guidance recommends masking only in areas of high COVID-19 transmission, instead of universal masking.
New York’s positive test rate on a seven-day rolling average was 1.9% on Friday, according to the state health department website, down from over 20% in early January.
Counties and cities may still require masks to be worn in schools. New York City Mayor Eric Adams said on Sunday the city would lift its school mask mandate on March 7 if there are no “unforeseen spikes” in COVID-19 cases between now and Friday.
“Our schools have been among the safest places for our children since the beginning of the pandemic, and we will continue to make the proper public health decisions to keep our kids safe, including making masks available for any child or school staff member who wishes to continue wearing them,” Adams said in a statement.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Richard Chang)