- By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor/June 4th, 2021
(The Center Square) – New York officials plan to move away from requiring masks at schools and camps and switch to a policy that “strongly encourages” students, campers, teachers, counselors and staff who are not fully vaccinated to use them.
Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker announced that planned policy change in a letter Friday to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the letter, Zucker said the state plans to move forward with the new policy, making it effective on Monday, unless the CDC could offer any information countering it.
Zucker wrote the letter noting that the center’s policies for schools and camps were not consistent.
“As we continue to work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and balance reopening with safety, New York State strives for consistency across and between settings with similar risk levels and populations,” Zucker wrote.
In addition to the new indoor guideline, Zucker wrote that the state will not make outdoor mask use a requirement but just encourage their use.
Officials consider someone to be fully vaccinated once two weeks pass after they get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson or the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
The state will recommend that fully vaccinated individuals will not need masks, but schools and camps will have the power to set more rigid requirements.
The move comes just days after New York U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-Shirley, called for lifting the mask requirement for kids. Zeldin is running for the Republican nomination in next year’s governor’s race.
In a news conference Wednesday, Cuomo said it’s rare for the state not to follow CDC guidance, but he felt the outdoor mask mandate for students was “a little extreme.”
“We’re talking to the CDC about it,” he said.
Zeldin claimed victory in a tweet Friday afternoon after reports of the letter surfaced.
“We did it!” He posted. “Honored to have led the fight to unmask our kids with so many passionate parents across NY FIGHTING for their freedoms & kids. We got it done! With this effort, imagine what we’re going to do in Nov 2022!”
Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said in a statement Friday he had called on the governor to ease the requirement. He added that it would be a decision better left for local leaders instead of Cuomo.
“Nonetheless, the state’s new guidance that will loosen mask mandates in schools, both indoors and outdoors, is welcome news for students, staff and concerned parents,” Ortt said.
More from the Roosevelt Island Daily
- Why RIOC’s New Constituent Services Department Is Total Bull-oneyNext up in its Hall of Cringe-Worthy Moments, RIOC’s screaming headline declares, “PRESIDENT HAYNES ANNOUNCES NEW CONSTITUENT SERVICES DEPARTMENT WITHIN RIOC.” It scores a triple crown of hypocritical, condescending and stupid. How can this highly paid confederacy of dunces make gross error after error and never pay a price? Maybe because all the strings are
- Will Roosevelt Island Day Be Diminished Again This Year?Roosevelt Island Day shrunk after 2019, partly because of excessive COVID-19 concerns, but what happens in 2023? President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes’s organizers can regain some lost community support, returning some enthusiasm for 2023. But the signs so far are not good. A late announcement and a lackadaisical poster lacking all originality won’t stoke enthusiasm. by
- From Jazz to Hip-Hop: How Harlem Transformed into a Groovy Hub of Music in New York CityThe culturally rich neighborhood of Harlem in New York City has been an epicenter for music since the early 20th century. From the birth of jazz to hip-hop, Harlem has served as a breeding ground for some of the most influential musical genres in American history. by David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily News The
- Broadway Unmasked: Behind the Theatre District’s Meteoric RiseBroadway is an iconic part of American culture, a place where dreams come true and stories are brought to life. From its humble beginnings as a small collection of theaters in the late 19th century, Broadway has grown into one of the most renowned theater districts in the world. But what led to its meteoric
- Lunatic Fringe – Is Shelton Haynes Job-Hunting on Your Dime?Reporting that “He’s at it again” isn’t enough as what looks for all the world like RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes job-hunting secures a spot cleanly on the lunatic fringe. In a new paid public promo, the composer positions Haynes as Roosevelt Island’s hero-come-lately. It gets really nutty before it ends. by David Stone The