Assemblymember Wallace: DOH Needs Plan to Return Masking Discretion to Schools

“For nearly two years, school administrators, faculty, and students have adhered to strict public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, most notably the universal masking order for indoor school facilities. That order is currently scheduled to end February 21. As we approach this date and as cases continue to decline, Governor Hochul and the state Department of Health should heed the request from the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association and provide a plan to give school districts greater discretion on masking requirements.

“While masking mandates were necessary earlier in the pandemic to save lives and curb the spread, we now have widely available and highly effective vaccines. I strongly encourage all adults to vaccinate themselves and their children. Vaccines are the most effective way to reduce transmission and prevent hospitalizations. However, given that the World Health Organization now recommends against routinely masking children under age 12 due to their low risk of COVID complications, it’s time for the state to develop plans to give school districts more discretion on public health measures, including masking. The state must also communicate those plans well in advance to the administrators and educators who are tasked with enforcing public health measures.”