BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of some local parents against the New York State Department of Health due to the continuation of mask requirements in schools.
The state guidance, effective June 23 says:
66-3.1 Face-Coverings (a) Any person who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance, unless such person is fully vaccinated, meaning two or more weeks have elapsed since such person received the final dose of any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or authorized by the FDA for emergency use; provided the person is not present in a prekindergarten to twelfth grade school, public transit, homeless shelter, correctional facility, 2 nursing home, health care setting, or other setting where mask use is otherwise required by federal or state law or regulation.
HoganWillig, the law firm that filed the lawsuit on behalf of the parents, says it was filed due to the continuation of mask requirements in schools despite the expiration of the state of emergency declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is time for children in New York to return to normal life, and many parents are understandably concerned that the minimal benefits of mask use are far outweighed by risks to children’s physical and mental health. This lawsuit does not challenge the lack of efficacy or overall harm caused by masks, but rather, focuses on the way in which the Department of Health has violated the State’s administrative rules and regulations in promulgating unnecessary “emergency” regulations.
On June 15, 7 Eyewitness News spoke to Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and asked if the mask requirements for schools could change. You can find her response below.
We’re following the CDC guidelines on that strictly, so we’ll be watching closely and talking to the CDC about when that’s gonna be changing, and I truly understand the sentiments of all the parents.
Currently, in accordance with CDC guidance, masks are required indoors at schools but are optional outdoors.