New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday the Big Apple plans to keep their school mask mandate in place when students return to the classroom this fall, despite new federal guidance stating that fully vaccinated students and teachers do not need to wear a mask indoors.
When asked about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention new mask guidance, the Democratic mayor replied, “Look, we’ve been constantly working with the CDC, but we also in this case have been very careful – given everything the city’s been through – so I’m absolutely confident based on this guidance and everything else we’ve seen that we’ll be able to get all our kids back in school in September.”
“But for now, we’re sticking with the idea that wearing the masks is a smart thing to do in schools,” de Blasio continued. “We’ll keep assessing as we go along, but I think for now it still makes sense.”
De Blasio went on to say that his office would provide an update within the first few weeks of the school year, noting that the mask mandate will likely remain in place “but that could change as we get closer.”
The New York Daily News noted that New York state’s mandate that masks be worn in school buildings also remains in place, but state health officials have said they are reviewing the new CDC guidance.
New York City isn’t the only place where school mask mandates are set to remain. On the same day the CDC released its new guidance – last Friday – California state health officials made it clear that masks would still be required in schools across the state this fall.
“California will continue to require that masks be worn indoors in school settings, which also will ensure that all kids are treated the same,” one official told FOX 11 in Los Angeles.
“Masking is a simple and effective intervention that does not interfere with offering full in-person instruction,” California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly told the outlet. “At the outset of the new year, students should be able to walk into school without worrying about whether they will feel different or singled out for being vaccinated or unvaccinated – treating all kids the same will support a calm and supportive school environment.”
Currently, there are no coronavirus vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for children younger than 12. For kids ages 12 and up, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized to be administered, and the companies plan to request emergency authorization for use in kids ages 5-11 before the end of the year.
The CDC does not recommend that schools require the vaccination of faculty or students.