On Board Online • August 8, 2022
By Eric D. Randall
Despite ongoing concerns about the coronavirus, it is unlikely that students returning to school this year will be required by the state to wear masks, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul.
"We are not anticipating a need for masks," Hochul said on Aug 2. The state mask requirement for schools was lifted on March 2, although mandates for public transportation are continuing.
Following a news conference in her Manhattan office, Hochul was asked whether she was concerned that students could catch COVID-19 in school, then bring it home to their families, leading to a community-based spread.
"One of the most significant lessons when children are not in a school setting in an ongoing regular basis with the support system around them, they falter," Hochul said, according to the Times Union. "Now we're seeing perhaps a generational impact on the children who were home for one-and-a-half, two years."
She added that if there is a change in data on infection rates, she might reinstitute a mask mandate for schools.
The state is planning to provide coronavirus testing kits for students and staff to help schools and families have up-to-date, local data.
On July 29, Hochul declared a state of emergency for monkeypox. "More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York, currently having a disproportionate impact on at-risk groups," she noted.
Nationally, there were 6,326 confirmed cases of monkeypox as of Aug. 2. Cases have occurred primarily in men who have sex with other men, according to health authorities.
However, at least five children in the U.S. had been diagnosed with monkeypox when On Board went to press on Aug. 3.