NY House GOP to Governor Hochul: Scrap School Mask Mandate

New York’s Republican congressional delegation says it’s time for Governor Kathy Hochul to drop the “onerous” school mask mandate amid plummeting coronavirus infection rates.

Long Island Rep. Andrew Garbarino and seven House GOP colleagues sent a joint letter to Hochul saying New York should not lag behind surrounding states in lifting mask-wearing requirements for students.

“In light of announcements from the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware, we are writing to you today to urge you to immediately rescind the onerous and unconstitutional mask mandate in New York State schools,” they said. wrote the members of the Chamber on Tuesday.

“We have heard from countless families in our districts expressing concerns about the mandate and how it has negatively impacted their child’s classroom experience. The time has come to end this illegal mandate and allow our children to be children again. »

Rep. Andrew Garbarino and seven House GOP colleagues sent a joint letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Franmarie Metzler/Official portrait of the house

The letter was co-signed by Garbarino and reps Nicole Malliotakis, Elise Stefanik, Lee Zeldin, Chris Jacobs, John Katko, Claudia Tenney and Tom Reed.

New York’s COVID-19 positivity rate fell to 4%, a steep drop after the worst of the Omicron wave.

Hochul is expected to announce on Wednesday that it will lift a separate mandate requiring businesses without vaccination requirements to require workers, customers and visitors to wear face coverings in public spaces.

The governor told a group of teachers, administrators and parents on Tuesday that she wanted to wait until after the next school vacation the week of Feb. 21 before making a final appeal on the mask edict. She complained about the low rate of vaccination of children aged 5 to 12.

But GOP lawmakers have argued that the reluctance to lift the mask rule is unwarranted.

“After years of adhering to public health safety guidelines, the children look forward to being able to return to some semblance of normalcy,” House GOP members told Hochul in the letter.

Kathy Hochul.
Governor Kathy Hochul complained about low vaccination rates for children ages 5 to 12.
Don Pollard
Masked students.
New York’s COVID-19 positivity rate has fallen to 4%.
Brittainy Newman/AP

“Knowing that the risk of transmission in children is extremely low, it is counterintuitive to retain this ill-conceived mandate that does little to improve the well-being and safety of our state’s children. For these reasons, we urge you to end these punitive measures once and for all.

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