BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — “I believe that there will end up being mask mandates,” said Kathy Hochul, Lt. Governor.
Just 12-days away from becoming governor of New York State Hochul boldly stated on NBC’s Today show children and everyone in schools will be wearing masks.
Hochul says this is only her “opinion” because she does not have the authority to create policy until she is governor.
But Hochul says this time she wants school districts to be very involved in decision making.
“I’m going to bring a different approach to this — it's not going to be top down —it's going to be much more collaborative and I will listen to everyone before I make decisive decisions,” Hochul stated. “Children have to be back in school.”
Late Thursday afternoon the New York State Education Department (NYSED) issue a 21-page health and safety guide for the new school year.
BREAKING: The New York State Education Department has released its back-to-school guidance which recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. https://t.co/wbLgKEruvY— 7 Eyewitness News (@WKBW) August 12, 2021
In the section on face masks, the guidance states "masks are required on school buses regardless of vaccination status”.
It also states masks are recommended for all school events and athletics while in-doors. That is the same as the CDC recommendations.
Lewiston Porter Schools Superintendent Paul Casseri tells me his district has mapped out different scenarios based covid transmission rates, but students will return to five-day, in person learning.
“So currently right now if we stay in the orange — there would be some degree of mandated masking over the course of the school day,” Casseri explained.
Under the current orange status in Niagara County there is substantial transmission rates.That would mean students will be required to wear masks on buses and common areas, but will have options in classrooms.
“We will be strongly recommending, but it will be optional for students and staff in classrooms when seated -- they are seated in their chairs three feet apart,” Casseri noted.
Dr. Nancy Nielsen, dean at UB’s Jacob School of Medicine, says nationwide 94,000 children had COVID last week.
“This Delta virus is as contagious as chicken pox,” declared Dr. Nielsen.
Dr. Nielsen says she realizes some parents are upset about children wearing masks, but if you want to keep kids in school five days a week, they must be protected.
“And this should not be a fight between parents and a school system, or health department or a governor or president,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen says people must remove politics from COVID.
“The enemy here is not the other side of the aisle — the enemy is a virus that is going to find anybody who is not immune and susceptible,” Nielsen replied. “There was a report last week that said that one in ten teenager that have gotten COVID have had long term symptoms for at least eight weeks — why would you put your kid through that?”