Education groups calling for stricter mask mandates in schools

Local News

ALBANY, NY – As we inch closer to the start of the new school year, education groups are calling for stricter mask mandates when it comes to indoor, in-person instruction.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappbianca has more on what they’re proposing.

((Andy Pallotta, NYSUT President)) While the state guidelines were drafted with the best intentions and with the best information available at the time, they need to be updated and clarified immediately.

Current guidelines from the State Department of Health mandate students and staff to wear masks indoors when social distancing isn’t possible, and ‘strongly recommend’ masks be worn at all times.

But, NYSUT is sending a letter to the DOH to instead make mask wearing mandatory indoors regardless of whether people are six feet apart.

((Andy Pallotta, NYSUT President)) Now that individual districts’ reopening plans are coming together, we’ve seen very different mask policies across the state.

((Randi Weingarten, AFT President)) Ultimately what a mask does is it protects others because of this being an airborne respiratory disease, which can be transmitted by asymptomatic people.

((Andy Pallotta, NYSUT President)) We take a class to the outside area and we let them breathe in some fresh air socially distant from each other, so it gives them a little bit of a break. It is really necessary, we support it.

They say another appropriate mask break would be when students are eating lunch.

They also say their proposal would reassure teachers and parents that going to school is safe.

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