ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Governor Kathy Hochul held a briefing during her first day in office Tuesday, outlining her top priorities as she begins her term as governor.
Hochul said priority number one is getting children back in school and protecting the environment. To achieve this, the governor said NYS will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all school personnel with an option to test out weekly. She reiterated that this will be the policy "for now."
The governor also announced a back-to-school NYS COVID-19 testing program to make testing for students and staff readily available and convenient. She is also directing the New York State Department of Health to institute a universal masking policy for anyone entering schools.
Later this week Hochul said she will announce school polices that are concise and consistent "giving the school districts what they have been asking for."
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) President Andy Pallotta released the following statement regarding Hochul's announcement Tuesday:
Gov. Kathy Hochul brings a breath of fresh air to Albany, and she already is taking decisive action to bolster health and safety in our schools. We support universal mask wearing as part of a layered mitigation strategy that also includes robust COVID testing, contract tracing, proper ventilation and other strategies recommended by public health experts. We also support the governor’s move to require regular COVID testing for school staff who are not yet vaccinated. It’s critical that educators continue to have a voice in the implementation of vaccine requirements and other COVID policies at the local level.
You can view Hochul's briefing below.
The Ken-Ton School District held a meeting on Tuesday night, explaining how students would be coming back to school, and what to expect in case of positive COVID-19 test. down for parents on Tuesday. The superintendent had this to say in regards to teachers needing to be vaccinated or tested every week. He says he believes many already area vaccinated.
“If we get to the point where somethings mandated, then we'll work with our teachers. Our teachers will work with us. And, I'm sure that we'll take it one step at a time and get done whatever we need to get done,” explained Ken-Ton Superintendent Sabatino Cimato.
“The governor is doing exactly the right thing. Her suggestions are providing up an array of strategies to help mitigate the outbreak of the Delta variant,” said Peter Stuhlmiller, the president of the Kenmore Teachers Association.