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Rochester city school parents, teachers react to lifting of mask mandate

Children across New York had their first day back to school without masks on Wednesday, March 2.

This marks the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that students and staff are allowed to go to school without wearing masks. Some Rochester City School District (RCSD) parents and teachers are hoping NYS Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision to lift the mandate comes at the right time, while others are pleased with the return to normalcy.

“We lost a lot of communication with each other during this pandemic. Now, they can socialize more,” said RCSD parent Derek Montgomery, according to 13Wham News.

Certain teachers feel the decision was rushed, as the RCSD did not announce it was going mask-optional until after dismissal on Tuesday, March 1.

“I thought it coming after school had been dismissed and not really giving anybody really enough time to talk about it – I did earlier with my classroom, but I wish it would have come earlier in the day so we would have had a chance to talk with students a bit more,” said Gerald Wiepert, 5th grade teacher at School No. 39.

The RCSD will continue to support those who choose to wear a mask to school, and masks are available to those who want them.