As New York State Waits To Hear From CDC, Mask Mandate Remains in Place at Schools
On Friday, news outlets (even the Associated Press) announced that starting on Monday, June 7, New York State would be eliminating the in-school and on-school buses mask mandate across the state with the exception of New York City where the mandate would remain in place. And then, everything changed.
On Friday, June 4, Dr. Howard Zucker, the New York Health Commissioner announced that a letter had been sent to the Centers for Disease Control saying that while New York State would still strongly recommend masks be worn inside school buildings and on school buses, it planned to lift the statewide mask mandate for New York State school staff and students (even those unvaccinated) on Monday, June 7. The letter requested if there were, "any data or science that you are aware of that contradicts moving forward with this approach," the CDC should advise the Health Department.
The confusion started when news outlets began reporting the lifting of the school mask mandate before the New York State Health Department and New York State Department of Education had a chance to receive a reply from the Centers for Disease Control. In defense of reporting news outlets, the website for Governor Andrew Cuomo posted on Friday, "New York has informed the CDC that on Monday the state intends to allow school districts to waive the mask mandate for students outside the building unless the CDC advises the state before Monday of contrary data or science."
As of late Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control had not responded to the request from the New York State Department of Health for proof that the state should not go forward with lifting the mandate. Rather than move forward with the decision to lift the mask mandate as stated in the letter sent to the CDC by Dr. Zucker on Friday, New York State Department of Education officials announced Sunday evening that until they received word from the CDC, students and staff would continue to be required to wear a mask indoors and on school busses.