NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the state will lift its mask mandate for schools effective Wednesday, March 2.
The lifting of the mandate Wednesday also applies to children two and older in child care facilities.
Hochul said counties and cities may still require masks in schools if they wish to do so. The governor also said parents and guardians may still choose to send children to school in masks.
Niagara County officials have announced the county will not require masks in schools. We have reached out to the other WNY counties, we are waiting to hear back.
The decision from state officials to lift the mask mandate for schools and child care facilities comes after the CDC issued new guidance Friday. It announced an easing of its indoor mask guidance for the public and schools, only recommending universal masking in schools for areas in the "high" category.
Based on that guidance here are where the eight WNY counties COVID-19 community levels as of February 24.
You can find the full CDC COVID-19 Community Levels here.
The governor cited a decline in statewide COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations, and an increase in statewide vaccination rates as reasons for lifting the mandate.
New York is moving in the right direction in our fight against COVID:— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) February 27, 2022
✅ #1 for fully vaccinated teenagers and #2 for fully vaccinated kids 5-11
✅ The lowest 7-day average of pediatric cases since July, before school began
✅ Pediatric hospitalizations have declined by 80%
The statewide mask mandate was lifted for businesses and venues on February 10.
The mandate will remain in place in health care settings, adult care facilities and nursing homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, public transportation.