State Dept. of Education issues school guidance that cites CDC guidelines on mask-wearing
The state Education Department on Thursday released guidance for reopening schools that lists recommendations previously laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Both have previously suggested that schools require teachers, staff, students and visitors to wear masks while indoors, especially in areas with a high infection rate, such as the Hudson Valley.
The state Education Department also cites the CDC recommendations on COVID-19 testing, cohorting, improved ventilation, hand-washing and covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick and regular cleaning to help reduce transmission risk.
As transmission levels rise, the guidelines say schools should be prepared to take steps such as increasing physical distancing to minimize transmission.
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.
The Clarkstown School Board abruptly ended its meeting Thursday night as parents spoke over each other, fighting back against the district’s mask mandate.
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.
But nearly 94,000 kids contracted COVID-19 this past week and the CDC says that on average, 239 were admitted into 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.