Some parents in New York are furious over Katy Hochul's first act as governor.
On her first day in office, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a new, comprehensive plan to help ensure what her office describes as a "safe, productive return to schools this fall in the midst of rising COVID-19 numbers fueled by the Delta variant."
Hochul confirmed she directed the New York State Department of Health to institute a universal mask requirement in all schools, public and private.
"As Governor, my priorities are now the priorities of the people of New York - and right now that means fighting the Delta variant," Hochul said. "My number one priority is getting children back to school and protecting the environment so they can learn safely. I am immediately directing the Department of Health to institute universal masking for anyone entering our schools."
Under the new rule, anyone who enters a New York school must wear a mask. While some praised Hochul's first decision, others were left "disappointed" and voiced their displeasure on Twitter.
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Others were thrilled with Hochul's mandate.
The Department of Health will issue the mask requirement through regulatory action established by the Public Health and Health Planning Council, Hochul confirmed.
"Since early July, COVID-19 cases in New York have risen 10-fold and 95 percent of sequenced positive cases were confirmed to be Delta variant," State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. Based on incidence and prevalence, our findings demonstrate the necessity of layered prevention strategies, including this mask requirement. While a simple measure of prevention, requiring masks now is crucial for protecting the health of our children and ensuring we can get our students back in their schools this fall."
Hochul adds she will also pursue options to mandate vaccines for school employees or require weekly testing in the absence of vaccines.
"Governor Hochul's action, taken after consultation with educators, demonstrates her commitment to the health and wellbeing of our students and the importance of keeping our schools open," Commissioner of Education Dr. Betty A. Rosa said.
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