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Letter to Hochul requests that statewide mask policy in schools be rescinded before start of year

When Governor Kathy Hochul took office one of her first actions leading state government was to request a full mask mandate in public schools amid rising COVID infections.

Now, Republican lawmakers from the Finger Lakes are joining calls for the mask mandate to be dropped before the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

“Locally-made decisions are informed decisions, and the people living within a community are the ones who know their unique needs better than any bureaucrat working in Albany,” said Assemblyman Jeff Gallahan, who represents Ontario and Seneca counties. “This year our new governor has an opportunity to break with her predecessor and put an end to the top-down style of governance that characterized his tenure. This previous approach unnecessarily made an already challenging time for learning even more difficult for our kids. I sincerely hope she will renege on her decision and let our school districts make the best decisions for their own student bodies.”


Altogether 18 assembly members signed onto the letter, which calls for the mask mandate to be repealed.

“We are writing to request that mandatory masking requirements for students not be implemented by your administration on a statewide basis,” the letter begins. “Masking decisions must be left up to school districts to implement based on what they decide is best following an open decision-making process that includes local students and parents.”

The letter goes on to criticize the quality of education, and how it has deteriorated recently – drawing comparisons to other states that have returned to normal. “Unfortunately, under the administration of your predecessor, this uncertainty was unduly heightened by quick decisions that never followed science,” the letter continues. “This one-size-fits-all approach to New York schools puts additional stress on our students and families during an already unprecedented time.”

Read the entirety of the letter by clicking here.