All New York students, staff and faculty must wear masks while at school under a new mandate.
The move has been slammed by many who accused politicians of ‘social conditioning’ children to accept the government decisions. Others welcomed it to prevent the spread of the virus, especially as the Delta variant runs wild.
The news came just three days after newly sworn Gov. Kathy Hochul told New Yorkers to expect a school-mask mandate.
Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter welcomed back students at P.S. 5 on August 17. New York City Schools have had mask mandates in place since last year
Newly sworn in Governor Kathy Hochul said she pushed for the masking mandate at the behest of school officials. She is working to implement vaccine requirements in the near future
Hochul said she ordered the state’s DOH to issue the universal masking policy for anyone entering a school building due to high demand from school district officials, NBC reported.
‘They told me they want this to happen, they just want to cover. They want to be able to go back to their parents at a school board meeting and say this is a state mandate, we had to follow it,’ Hochul said.
‘So, because they did have that they were the ones that were that front of all the criticism and I have no trouble, problem at all, assuming that responsibly. I’m going do that.’
The reaction to the mandate was mixed, with several people praising and criticizing the governor’s actions.
New York’s school mask mandate received praise and criticisms on Twitter
Twitter user Alicia Ferrari praised the governor for her actions. Ferrari tweeted, ‘Our family was so COVID sick last year. When you get sick, it becomes obvious that this is common sense, not politics.’
Fellow tweeter Matthew Jones, however, was much more critical of the new mandate.
‘This will teach kids its normal for the government to tell you what to do. Wake the F up people,’ he tweeted.
Hochul said the state is also working to implement a program to require all school personnel to be either vaccinated or get tested weekly for coronavirus.
‘To accomplish this in New York, we need partnerships with all levels of government and I’m working now on getting this done,’ Hochul said in a Tuesday news conference.
New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta , who leads the state’s largest teaching union, said he supported the mask mandate as well as regular COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated staff, but he said it was critical to keep educators in the loop whenever such mandates are passed.
New York City has already had a mask mandate in place since last year, and all NYC school employees are required to have their first vaccination shot by September 27.
There will be no testing option.
Meanwhile in Florida, a judge has blocked Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning mask mandates in schools, ruling that the governor overstepped his authority.
Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper agreed with a group of parents who claimed in a lawsuit that DeSantis’ order is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.
Cooper said DeSantis’ order ‘is without legal authority.’
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (pictured last week) overstepped his authority by banning mask mandates in schools, a judge has ruled
His decision came after a three-day virtual hearing, and after at least 10 Florida school boards voted to defy DeSantis and impose mask requirements with no parental opt-out.
Cooper’s decision will lift the ban on mask mandates imposed in 10 of the state’s 67 countywide school districts, including most of the largest.
The districts represent more than half of the state’s 2.8 million public school students enrolled this year.
DeSantis, a Republican who is eyeing a possible presidential run in 2024, had threatened to impose financial penalties on school boards that vote for strict mask mandates. Democratic President Joe Biden has said if that happens, federal money will be used to cover any costs.
DeSantis’ office slammed the ‘incoherent’ decision in a statement and said they planned to appeal the ruling immediately.
‘It’s not surprising that Judge Cooper would rule against parent’s rights and their ability to make the best educational and medical decisions for their family, but instead rule in favor of elected politicians,’ the statement said. ‘This ruling was made with incoherent justifications, not based in science and facts – frankly not even remotely focused on the merits of the case presented.’
‘We will continue to defend the law and parent’s rights in Florida, and will immediately appeal the ruling to the First District Court of Appeals, where we are confident we will prevail on the merits of the case,’ the statement added.
The highly contagious delta variant led to an acceleration in cases around Florida and record high hospitalizations just as schools prepared to reopen classrooms this month. By mid-August, more than 21,000 new cases were being added per day, compared with about 8,500 a month earlier. The state said 16,820 people were hospitalized on Tuesday, down from a record of more than 17,000 last week.
About 6 in 10 Americans say students and teachers should be required to wear face masks while in school, according to a poll conducted this month by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.