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Hochul likely to extend New York's mask mandate for schools and reevaluate after February break

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Posted at 5:26 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 20:24:20-05

NEW YORK (WKBW) — According to the New York State Council of School Superintendents, Governor Kathy Hochul is likely to extend New York's mask mandate for schools and will reevaluate after February break.

Hochul is set update New Yorkers Wednesday as the statewide mask mandate for all businesses and venues is set to expire Thursday and the statewide mask mandate for schools is set to expire February 21.

According to the New York State Council of School Superintendents, it was "heavily implied" in meetings Tuesday that the mask mandate would be extended beyond February break, which happens in most school districts the week of February 21-25, and the policy would be reevaluated after the break.

The New York State Council of School Superintendents said during the meeting, it asked the state to determine what it would take to lift the mandate. The New York State Council of School Superintendents said the governor said it would be hard for the state to determine metrics right now. Their preference would be to wait and see what the facts are after winter break.

"That's the clear implication. If the intent is to wait until what the facts are after the break, then that would mean the mask requirement would be extended through that period," Robert Lowry, deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, said.

Earlier this month the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association sent a letter to Hochul asking for a timeline on ending masking in schools ahead of its expiration date.

Superintendents in Genesee and Orleans counties also issued a letter to Hochul asking that control be returned to individual districts on issues such as masking.

School leaders told 7 News Monday they want Hochul to provide an “off-ramp” so students, families and staffers can prepare for when schools have the right to decide about mask use in schools.

7 News reached out to the governor's office for comment and we were referred back to this release.