NEW YORK — On the last weekday of the mid-winter break for New York City Public Schools, Mayor Eric Adams very publicly showcased a relaxing of masking rules for the more than 1 million students in the DOE system. 

“Today, the chancellor announced that we are lifting the mask mandate for children when they play outside,” the mayor said, in an appearance on the PIX11 Morning News.  

The change to wearing masks outside at New York City public schools came on the same day that the CDC relaxed its guidelines for mask wearing indoors, nationwide. 

The outdoor change at schools came with mostly favorable reviews from parents.

“I want my son to not wear the mask,” said Jorge Garcia, a parent in Sunnyside, Queens. “He’s fully vaccinated.”

Not every parent, however, favored the change. 

Alberto Lopez is the parent of a first grader. He said that the rule should be simple — keep it as it’s always been, since schools reopened last fall.

“Inside use a mask, outside, too,” he said, adding that the reason to keep the old rule in place is simple, as well: “Because some people are sick, no?”

The transition may not be intuitive for some children, said Kaliris Salas-Ramirez, an organizer at PRESS NYC, a school parent advocacy group.  

“Children … understand the importance of masking,” she said in an interview. “Now you’re telling them they don’t need to mask. Now all these questions start.”

Salas-Ramirez said that it will help if schools support families’ efforts to inform children about the change. 

“It’d be really great if we could have intentional conversations,” she said. 

Also on Friday, the CDC relaxed its indoor masking rules, nationwide. It rated every county in the country, based on a combination of transmission rates, hospitalizations, and hospital capacity. About two-thirds of the country’s counties were categorized as green or yellow zones, where those factors have low enough rates that indoor mask wearing is optional.

The other one-third fall into an orange zone category. In those counties, the transmission, hospitalization, and hospital capacity rates are high enough that mask wearing indoors is recommended. 

Dr. Dyan Hes, the medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics, said that the new, relaxed guidelines make sense.

“With omicron,” she said, “we had millions of cases, but we didn’t have millions of hospitalizations.”

She said that the new CDC guidelines appropriately recognize that. However, she said, people could benefit from federal, state, and local heath officials redoubling their efforts in an area other than mask wearing.

“I think the real push should be in vaccinating, ” she said, “and less about masks at this point.”