New York City doesn’t have plans to change its current mask-wearing policy in schools and adhere to recently updated guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
In a major policy shift last week, the CDC called for the full reopening of schools across the country even if doing so meant dropping its three-foot social distancing requirement and recommended only unvaccinated adults and children wear masks while inside school buildings.
The New York State Department of Health is currently reviewing the amended guidelines and their decision on whether to relax mask wearing requirements in schools could impact whether the DOE adopts the new CDC recommendations. But for now New York City public school families should expect that teachers, staff and students regardless of vaccination status will need to face coverings in classrooms this fall, according to de Blasio.
“There will be a lot of communication before school and once it begins for now assume we are wearing masks,” de Blasio told reporters during a morning press conference. “ But that could change as we get closer…we will be driven by the data and see what the science has to say.”
The CDC guideline changes come amid a national push to boost slowing vaccination rates across the country. De Blasio started off his Monday press conference touting New York City’s vaccination rate stating that 4.4 million city residents are now fully vaccinated against the virus.
According to the CDC, about 4.9 million New York City residents are fully vaccinated against the virus and 5.4 million, or about 64% of the city’s population, has received at least one dose of the vaccine which falls just a little below the nation’s overall rate.
De Blasio told reporters Monday the City planned to keep its current mask-wearing policy in place due to its efficacy in mitigating the spread of the virus in school communities.
“By the end of the school year positivity in the schools was almost non-existent…so we are going to keep a lot of those same pieces in place,” de Blasio said.