Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R,C,I-Castleton) is supporting legislation that would prohibit state agencies from mandating masks for children younger than 18 years old in settings like schools, daycares and summer camps. The point of the legislation is to re-establish local authority in these matters of public health.
In recent days, the state had caused great confusion for parents and school administrators after issuing differing policies from the Department of Health (DOH), the State Education Department (SED) and then the governor. On Friday, June 4, DOH said it was lifting the mask mandate on children, and then on Sunday, June 6, SED said it would not lift the mandate. Finally, on Monday, June 7, the governor announced that masks would not be required for children in outdoor settings.
“New York keeps showing remarkable progress in curbing COVID-19 and our state policies should reflect this. The mass confusion caused by the governor, the state DOH and SED have been the final straw for parents and schools regarding masking children,” said Ashby. “With the vast majority of adult mask mandates being lifted, it is unconscionable to force children – who throughout the pandemic have shown the most resistance and resiliency when it comes to COVID-19 – to wear masks for eight hours straight during the hottest weeks of the school year.”
The legislation proposed by Ashby and his Minority colleagues will work to prevent the confusion and allow for local schools and governments to set public health policies that make sense for their communities.
New York has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 infection and has a very high rate of vaccination compared to other states. As of today, the Capital Region has a 0.6 percent seven-day average rate of infection and more than 643,000 residents of the region have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.