All New York students, staff and teachers are required to wear masks at school during a new assignment.
Many have rejected the move, which accused politicians of giving children “social conditioning” to accept government decisions. Others welcomed it to prevent the spread of the virus, especially as the Delta variant runs wild.
The news came just three days after newly sworn Governor Kathy Hochul told New Yorkers to expect a school mask mandate.
School Chancellor Meisha Porter welcomed students to PS 5 again on August 17. Schools in New York City have been introducing mask mandates since last year
Newly sworn in Governor Kathy Hochul said she pushed for the masking mandate at the urging of school officials. She is working to implement vaccine requirements in the near future
Hochul said she ordered the state’s DOH to issue the Universal Mask Policy to anyone entering a school building due to high demand from school district officials, NBC reported.
“They told me they want this to happen, they just want to provide cover. They want to be able to go back to their parents at a school board meeting and say this is a state mandate, we had to follow through,” Hochul said.
“So, because they did, they were the ones at the forefront of all the criticism and I have no problem, no problem at all, taking that responsibility. I’m going to do that.’
Reactions to the mandate have been mixed, with several people praising and criticizing the governor’s actions.
New York school mask mandate received praise and criticism on Twitter
Twitter user Alicia Ferrari praised the governor for her actions. Ferrari tweeted: ‘Our family was so COVID sick last year. When you get sick, it becomes clear that this is common sense, not politics.’
Fellow tweeter Matthew Jones, however, was much more critical of the new mandate.
‘This teaches children that it is normal for the government to tell you what to do. Wake up the F folks,” he tweeted.
Hochul said the state is also working to implement a program to require all school staff to be vaccinated or tested weekly for coronavirus.
“To achieve this in New York, we need partnerships with all levels of government and I am now working to make this happen,” Hochul said at a Tuesday news conference.
New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta, who heads the state’s largest education union, said he supported the mask mandate as well as regular COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated staff, but said it was critical to teachers to be informed when such mandates are passed.
New York City has been under a mask mandate since last year, and all NYC school staff must have their first vaccination by September 27.
There will be no testing opportunity.
Meanwhile, a Florida judge has blocked Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order to ban mask mandates in schools, ruling that the governor exceeded his authority.
Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper agreed with a group of parents who argued in a lawsuit that DeSantis’ injunction is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.
Cooper said DeSantis’ order is “without legal authority.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (pictured last week) overstepped his authority by banning mask mandates in schools, a judge has ruled
His decision came after a three-day virtual hearing, and after at least 10 Florida school boards voted to defy DeSantis and impose mask requirements without parental opt-out.
Cooper’s decision will lift the mask mandate ban imposed in 10 of the state’s 67 countywide school districts, including most of the largest.
The districts represent more than half of the state’s 2.8 million public school students enrolled this year.
DeSantis, a Republican targeting a possible 2024 presidential election, had threatened to impose financial sanctions on school boards who vote for strict mask mandates. Democratic President Joe Biden has said that if that happens, federal money will be used to cover any costs.
DeSantis’ office rejected the “disjointed” decision in a statement, saying they planned to immediately appeal the ruling.
“It’s not surprising that Judge Cooper would speak out against parents’ rights and their ability to make the best educational and medical decisions for their families, but instead in favor of elected politicians,” the statement said. “This statement has been made with disjointed justifications, not based on science and fact – frankly, not even remotely focused on the substance of the case presented.”
“We will continue to defend the law and parental rights in Florida, and will immediately appeal the decision to the First District Court of Appeals, where we are confident we will win the case on the merits.” , the statement said.
The highly contagious delta variant sparked an acceleration of cases around Florida and record high hospital admissions just as schools prepared to reopen classrooms this month. By mid-August, more than 21,000 new cases a day were added, compared to about 8,500 a month earlier. The state said 16,820 people were hospitalized on Tuesday, a record from more than 17,000 last week.
About 6 in 10 Americans say students and teachers should be required to wear face masks in school, according to a poll conducted this month by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.