New York State will no longer mandate that students must wear masks outdoors while they are at school, following a weekend of confusion and questions about evolving Covid-19 restrictions.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday that New York will follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on the question of wearing masks at summer camps, where even those who are unvaccinated do not have to wear masks outdoors.
"In other words, children wear masks in school, inside. When they're outside of the school building in recess, et cetera, it's hot, they're running around, but they're outside, there is no mandate for masks outside," he said during a briefing with reporters. "We'll leave that up to the local school district. We spoke to CDC and CDC has no objection to that and is fine with it."
Cuomo said it was important that people understand the connection between the restrictions and science and data, and he said the mask mandate for students increasingly did not make sense.
"We have a disconnect right now between the school guidance and the camp guidance. You send your child to camp, they don't have to wear a mask. You send your child to school, they have to wear a mask, even outside," he said. "How do you square those two regulations? And I don't think you can and that's important, because if people don't think the rules are logical, then they're not going to want to follow the rules."
New York's health commissioner sent a letter to the CDC saying the state intended to waive the mask mandate for students effective Monday. The news had left students, parents and school staff confused throughout the weekend.
But the state Education Department sent an email to superintendents Sunday clarifying the issue, after conferring with members of Cuomo's executive staff.