Update: Buffalo Public Schools announced late Tuesday night that mask wearing in schools will not be required, despite previously stating they were keeping the mandate in place.
Students in the Buffalo Public School District will continue to wear masks in the classroom for at least another week, even after Governor Kathy Hochul announced the statewide mandate will be lifted on Wednesday. Hochul left it up to individual counties and school districts to make their own decisions on masking in the classroom.
A press release from the school district says the BPS Medical Advisory Team met with Erie County Department of Health partners to discuss COVID-19 metrics in order to make a data-driven decision. Those metrics include:
- Local COVID-19 rates of transmission over the last seven days
- Current pediatric hospitalization rates
- Zone color identification for Erie County (Orange, Yellow, Green)
BPS says the top priority is to keep students and staff safe in school and says face masks have been proven to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Erie County is still in the Yellow zone of the CDC's Community Level of Transmission. So the Medical Advisory Team made the following recommendations:
- For the week of Monday 2/28/22, mask mandates will remain in place at all BPS schools and facilities (including all centralized locations)
- All persons on school and public transportation must wear masks
- The Medical Advisory Team will re-examine data points by 3/4/22 and will share adjustments if needed