Long Islanders seek end to mask mandates in schools as NJ, CT plan to scrap requirements
Some Long Island students and parents are calling for New York to eliminate its indoor mask mandate for schools and businesses.
The pressure for Gov. Kathy Hochul to allow children to go to school without masks is growing as Gov. Phil Murphy and Gov. Ned Lamont announced that New Jersey and Connecticut will be ending their mandates.
Hochul said Friday that more children ages 5 to 11 getting vaccinated against COVID-19 may speed up the timeline for the elimination of the state mask mandate in schools.
She says she "knows" the state can do better than 34% of that age group being vaccinated
However, Hochul has not stated publicly if she plans to make any changes.
"I'm gathering data, I always said I would do that," Hochul says. "It's not a knee-jerk reaction, but we are trending in a very good direction."
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman says children and their parents have told him "enough is enough." He says they want the option to have their children go to school without a mask.
"I think it's nonsense, I don't think she has the right to tell me what to do with my children," says North Babylon resident Veronica Lamoreaux.
Others like Bethpage resident Jennifer Watters-Delahunt agree with the governor and would rather wait to follow the science.
"We need to try to protect each other, protect our immunocompromised community members,” Watters-Delahunt says. "One child lost to this is one too many if we can prevent it."
New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, is giving the state until Tuesday, Feb. 8 to respond to the order to show legal proof of why the mask mandate is in effect.
Hochul said Monday that she will make an announcement about mask mandates for indoor settings on Wednesday. However, that announcement is not expected to apply to schools.
The New York State mask mandate for schools is set to expire on Feb. 21 unless Hochul decides to extend it again