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Governor Kathy Hochul says vaccination rate will determine when kids can go to school unmasked



New York – Over the last month, the Omicron surge has seen sharp declines inactive and new cases among residents. COVID-19 cases continue to decline rapidly in New York.

According to Governor Kathy Hochul, lifting the mask mandate in schools will come down to when a large number of students are vaccinated.

“It’s something we get asked a lot about: When are masks coming off in schools? We’ll be making some announcements in the short term as we see these numbers progressing,” Hochul said. “The more children we have vaccinated, the safer they will be when they go to school at the time they get to where they won’t need a mask anymore. It’s something we’re striving for, but we’re just not there yet.”

Especially as cases decline, Republican lawmakers have called for the state to give local control to districts on how to best approach this issue.

Assemblyman Christopher Tague said it’s a one-size-fits-all approach that falls short. “I think the biggest thing is whether it’s constitutional or not and the fact that it never came before the Legislature as the representatives of the people,” he told Spectrum News. “Things are not the same in downtown Schoharie that they are in downtown Manhattan so to speak. So each one of us represent diverse areas, unique areas, and the biggest thing is having a voice for the people we represent.”

The mask mandate already faces a legal challenge, which could have an impact long-term on how the mandate is enforced in schools, or anywhere.