Masks can be removed outdoors but must remain on indoors at schools, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday.
The statement clarified a weekend of confusion for school districts, after contradictory letters sent by state officials. Late Friday afternoon, state health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker wrote to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying that, as of Monday, schools would not have to require vaccinated students to wear masks indoors. But on Sunday, the state Health Department said that masks mandated were unchanged.
This change on outdoor use matches CDC rules.
“The numbers show that the risk of transmission by children is extremely low, especially in this state, which has an extremely low positivity rate. We spoke with the CDC, and since they’re not going to change their guidance for several weeks in New York State, we’re going to modify the CDC guidance and allow schools to choose no mask outside for children,” Cuomo said. “We’ll leave that up to the local school district and we spoke to the CDC, which has no objection. It’s very important that people understand the logic between these decisions and that they’re rational and based on the science and the data. We have a disconnect right now between the school guidance and the camp guidance, and it’s important to rectify it because if people don’t think the rules are logical, then they’re not going to want to follow the rules.”
The confusion led a few districts to announce that they would lift the mandates, while others waited to respond until the Education Department’s letter.