Lt. Gov. Hochul tours Queens school, says mask mandate is likely
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul toured the Louis Armstrong School in Queens Wednesday to get a sense of what kinds of COVID-19 protocols would be in place when classes resume statewide in a few weeks.
Hochul says kids need to be back in school and answered questions about the issue of mask mandates.
"I already addressed it a week ago and very clearly telegraphed it with the phrase the caveat 'I believe' that we will need mask mandates," says Hochul. "In a matter of days, I'll be able to say we will have mask mandates. I just don't have that authority at this time and I'm not going to overstep."
STATE OF OUR SCHOOLS: Back-to-school resources
The state Department of Education did issue guidelines on protocols, but they were based on what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already issued. The CDC recommends masks in schools.
Hochul told members of the media she had a Zoom meeting Tuesday with statewide organizations representing teachers, superintendents, PTA groups, unions, and immigrant groups and that 99 to 100% of them agreed there was a need for a statewide mask mandate.
The news didn't go over well at a Parents Choice rally in Hauppauge Wednesday.
"I am extremely disappointed," says Violeta Orrino, of Babylon. "I would ask her to reconsider that decision. There's enough science backing that there's really no need for the kids to be wearing those at all times."
Dr. Tonie McDonald, president of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents issued a statement saying, "School districts are in the final stages of organizing the framework of their reopening plans to share with staff, parents and their communities. We understand the timeline for the transition, however, the sooner we receive definitive instructions the better in order to ensure a smooth reopening of our schools."
Hochul takes office Tuesday.