School board meeting abruptly ends as parents express outrage at mask mandates

Parents across the Hudson Valley are pushing back against the state Department of Education’s new COVID-19 guidelines for the upcoming school year.
The Clarkstown School Board abruptly ended its meeting Thursday night as parents spoke over each other, fighting back against the district’s mask mandate.
One 8-year-old student also shared her concerns about how things will look and feel in the fall. "I start getting headaches, my heart rate goes up, I start to have a panic attack," says Madison Maggino, a Lakewood Elementary School third grade student.
State Assemblyman Kieran Lalor, who’s been critical of masking students, says parents should talk to their local pediatricians and decide for themselves. “Given the low risk to children, I don’t...I don’t understand why we would mandate the masks,” says Lalor.
The department guidelines include recommendations previously laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • The guidance calls for kids to mask up in the classroom this fall
  • The same goes for teachers, staff and visitors in school buildings -- vaccinated or not
  • On top of the mask guidance, the CDC is recommending regular COVID-19 tests 
  • Better ventilation 
  • Hand-washing and covering coughs and sneezes
  • Staying home if you're sick
  • Regular cleaning to help reduce transmission risk
  • Increasing physical distancing to minimize transmission if rates rise
Earlier Thursday, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said she would be speaking with the state health commissioner about the reopening of schools. She also said a mask mandate is likely when she was asked about schools.
And doctors agree saying some kids do have issues wearing masks, but they say the downside of not masking up is much worse. New CDC data reports 94,000 children were infected with COVID-19 in just this past week and more than 200 on average were admitted to the hospital nationwide. 
“Wearing a mask does have some psychological impact in some people, especially in some children. I agree. However, the downside of not wearing a mask is much higher," says infectious disease specialist Dr. Harish Moorjani.