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WNY Students First group files lawsuit to end mask mandate in daycares and schools

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Posted at 10:49 AM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 10:52:34-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Western New York Students First has filed a lawsuit to end the indoor mask mandate for those ages 2 and up in daycares, preschools and K-12 schools in New York.

According to its website, "Western New York Students First is a non-partisan group of parents, caregivers, teachers, and school district stakeholders across Western New York working to make our school districts' primary focus the needs of students."

The lawsuit was filed by WNY Students First on February 11 in State Supreme Court in Westchester County against New York Governor Kathy Hochul, the New York State Department of Health, New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Public Health and Health Planning Council and New York State Education Department.

According to the group, the lawsuit is supported by eight experts in various fields such as epidemiology, virology and pediatric psychology.

"Through our experts, we show that the State has failed to cite to any evidence that establishes a causal link between masking children and reducing transmission of COVID-19 in daycares or schools, and therefore such policies are arbitrary, capricious, and lacks a rational basis. Our lawsuit separately argues that the masking policy violates the separation of powers clause the New York Constitution and thus the mask mandate must be invalidated," a release from the group says.

On February 9 Governor Hochul announced the state would lift the mask mandate for businesses and venues, while the mandate would remain in place for schools and other settings such as health care facilities and public transportation.

A mask mandate has been in place in schools since the start of the school year. It was set to expire on February 21, but Hochul announced an assessment would be made in early March based on the following metrics on what possible new guidelines would be:

  • Cases per 100,000
  • Percent positivity
  • Hospital admissions
  • Pediatric hospitalizations
  • Vaccinations
  • Global trends