Cuomo: School indoor mask guidance remains, no mandate for outdoor settings

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — Following confusion over guidelines for mask wearing in New York schools, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced modifications on guidance Monday.

The governor said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not advise students to go without masks while indoors. However, school districts will be allowed to choose whether or not a child should wear a mask in outdoor settings, Cuomo said.

“Children wear masks inside, and when they’re outside of the school building in recess etc., there is no mandate for masks outside. We’ll leave that up to the local school districts,” he said.

Despite New York State’s low COVID-19 positivity rates, Cuomo said the CDC’s protocols were set for the country rather than a state-by-state basis.

The modifications Cuomo announced will allow school and camp guidance to align with each other. 

In a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday, NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker announced students in grades Kindergarten through 12 would no longer have to bring their masks with them to class.

However, the NYS Education Department walked back on the comments Sunday, saying schools should continue enforcing mask mandates and there will be no change.

The back-and-forth caused confusion and frustration for many parents and officials.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran called for immediate clarification from the state while Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro was frustrated by the news, accusing the state of misleading people.

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