Plainedge becomes second LI district set to restore parental choice for masks when mandate expires
A second Long Island school district announced that it will restore parental choice for masks once the governor's mandate expires.
The superintendent of Plainedge schools says the district plans to give parents the choice related to mask-wearing in schools on Feb 16.
The announcement comes after Massapequa announced Thursday evening that its Board of Education voted to eliminate the mask mandate next month.
"I'm pretty happy about it," says Tyler Carmody, a student at Massapequa High School. "I don't like wearing masks so it's good I don't have to wear them anymore."
A Massapequa school board member says that by enforcing the mask mandate, they are making students "hate school."
"Let's let them love school again," the board member says. "Let's let a kindergarten teacher see those smiles and unobstructed giggle."
Massapequa was the first school district to take formal action on halting enforcement of the state mandate after Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman signed an executive order allowing schools to make their own decisions regarding masks.
A teachers union representative in the Connetquot school district says administrators have not been enforcing the mandate.
"They're circumventing the mandate with behind-the-scenes lack of action, the lackadaisical attitude, no enforcement of the rules," says Tony Felicio.
The districts' announcements and action have drawn criticism from Gov. Kathy Hochul.
She says schools are safe because people have been wearing masks and that children have been adapting to it.
Massapequa's mask option policy would take effect Feb. 21. If the state does not extend the Feb. 15 expiration date, Hochul says that Massapequa's policy would not matter.
"So, I'm not sure what they're trying to say on that front but news flash, when the state requirements lapse, everybody can not follow them any longer," Hochul said Friday during her COVID-19 briefing.
Hochul also said that the state is weighing options on what to do with districts that do not comply to mandates that are in place.