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Masks in NYC schools for immediate future, says Mayor Bill de Blasio

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Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said students in New York City public schools will continue to wear masks for the immediate future, despite guidance from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention last week that facial coverings for young people who are fully vaccinated should no longer be mandatory. Credit: NY Mayor's Office

Students at New York City public schools will continue wearing masks for the immediate future, and potentially when classes resume in September, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

"For now we are sticking with the idea that wearing masks is a smart thing to do in schools," de Blasio said at his daily news briefing, adding that further guidance will be delivered to parents and students before classes resume in September. "We will keep assessing as we go along but for now it still makes sense."

The new plan comes despite guidance released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that facial coverings for fully vaccinated young people should no longer be mandatory. Fully vaccinated teachers and students no longer need to wear masks inside school buildings, according to the CDC guidance.

Students under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine should continue to wear a mask and be tested weekly for the virus, the CDC said.

"We are going to be reviewing the new guidance carefully, discussing it with our colleagues at the Department of Education and coming out with additional information for parents and students in the weeks ahead," said City Health Commissioner David Chokshi.

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said in a statement that the union "will be reviewing the CDC's recommendations and having conversations with our independent medical experts, as well as meeting with the city and state agencies that are responsible for deciding how to proceed."

Long Island education administrators offered mixed reactions to the CDC guidance last week, with some saying they welcomed the change while others expressed concern about discerning who is vaccinated and who is not.

"We have no way of knowing who is vaccinated," said Richard Haase, an English teacher at Candlewood Middle School in Dix Hills and president of the teachers union for the Half Hollow Hills School District. "A lot in life is trust."

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