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New York drops mask mandate in schools: Hochul says it’s up to counties and parents

Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Sunday that it would be up to counties and parents to determine whether students would be required to mask up when heading to school.

Lifting the mask mandate in New York’s schools was a step many had been urging across parts of Upstate.

The mandate will end effective Wednesday, March 2. Counties who are considered part of the ‘red zone’, per Centers for Disease Control counts, will also have the option to ditch the mask mandate.

The CDC says that counties considered to be in this red zone, with high community transmission, should continue wearing masks while indoors.

The state rolled back the indoor mask mandate more than two weeks ago for private businesses and other public indoor settings.

“We welcome this step toward normalcy. The governor is striking the right balance by empowering local officials to use data to determine if and when the mitigation strategies need to change in their areas. As the guidance changes, one thing must remain constant: It’s essential that districts work closely with educators to ensure there is confidence in their health and safety plans,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said in a statement after the announcement.