NYC schools will allow students to drop masks outside, but will STILL require children to use face coverings indoors
- NYC students will no longer have to wear face masks when they return to school next week.
- Masks will continue to be required indoors as Gov. Kathy Hochul has yet to lift indoor mandates.
- Covid restrictions are being lifted statewide as Covid cases drop and Mayor Eric Adams said he “can’t wait” to end the vaccination mandate.
- Outdoor transmission of Covid is incredibly rare, and research shows that infected children do not produce virus particles at the same rate as adults.
Children in New York City public schools will finally be able to take off their masks outside next week, but face masks will still be required inside.
School principal David Banks announced the move on Friday amid an increase in Covid cases and growing pressure from parents and the public to repeal the school’s controversial mask policy.
Once a Covid hotspot, New York City’s daily Covid cases have plummeted, with the Big Apple only recording about 1,000 new cases per day, well below a peak of around 40,000 per day during the peak of the Omicron surge in early January. .
Children are also at a small risk of contracting the virus when they are infected, and outdoor transmission of Covid is rare, whether hidden or not.
Children in New York schools will no longer have to wear masks outside when they return to class after recess on Monday.
“I’m so excited that we can make this exciting announcement and safely allow students and staff to remove their masks when they’re outdoors at New York City public schools,” Banks said in a statement.
The move comes as there are ongoing discussions in the city about lifting Covid restrictions.
Earlier this week, new mayor Eric Adams said he “can’t wait” for city health officials to give him the green light to lift vaccination and mask-wearing mandates in the city.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul introduced a strict mask-wearing mandate late last year to combat the Omicron surge, but earlier this month lifted the mandate to wear face masks everywhere except in schools.
Masks are still required in schools across the state by order of the governor, and New York City is still required to follow the state order.
However, New York’s Covid cases are on a downward trend, fueling calls for the remaining restrictions to be lifted.
In the past two weeks, the incidence has halved, from 2,000 a day to 1,000 a day. In the past two weeks, the number of cases in the state has dropped by 56 percent.
Forcing children to wear masks outdoors is a policy that goes beyond the typical advice of health officials and is a strange policy based on the information available about the virus.
Transmission of Covid outside is very rare. Since the air is constantly circulating, the aerosol droplets emitted by an infected person are quickly carried away and have little chance of reaching someone else.
Even for adults, the risk of contracting or transmitting the virus is very low.
Children also do not shed virus particles at the same rate as adults, a German study published earlier this week found, further reducing the already negligible risk of outdoor transmission.
Young people are also among the group least likely to contract or become fatally ill from the disease, raising questions about why vaccines or masks are mandatory for children in schools.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that children account for less than 0.1 percent of deaths from the virus since the pandemic began in early 2020.
A study last fall by researchers at the University of Utah – before a milder version of Omicron was available – found that half of Covid cases in children are asymptomatic.
New York students are currently on their February break and will be back in class this week. Some hope the governor will lift the mask requirement upon their return, although it is not known if city officials will follow suit.