Barring objections from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York face mask guidelines will relax for children and adults attending schools and camps starting next week.
State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker wrote a letter to the CDC on Friday, outlining a proposed COVID-19 guidance that enables those who are fully inoculated to go maskless. He also calls for face coverings to be "encouraged" but not required for students, adults, and campers who are not fully vaccinated.
The state is asking the CDC if there is any reason it should not ease its mask mandate for campuses. That move could transpire early.
What are the details of the proposed guideline?
New York is planning on implementing the changes in guidelines on Monday, June 7, Zucker wrote in the letter. Under the state's proposed guidance outlined by Zucker, indoor mask-wearing will be strongly encouraged, but not required for students, campers, and adults who are not fully vaccinated. Outdoors, masks will not be required, reported NY 1.
New York plans to adjust to the following rules pending potential input from the CDC, reported 13 WHAM:
- Masks are not required outdoors. Students, staff/teachers/counselors, and campers who are not fully inoculated are "encouraged" to don a mask in particular higher-risk circumstances.
- Indoors, mask used will be much encouraged but not required for students, staff/teachers/counselors, and campers who are not fully inoculated.
- Schools and camps may decide to implement more rigid standards.
- Both outdoors and indoors, students, staff, and campers who are fully inoculated do not need to wear face masks.
According to Zucker, "If there is any data or science that you are aware of that contradicts moving forward with this approach, please let me know as soon as possible," reported Daily News. The letter indicates that CDC guidance varies for campuses compared to camps.
Zucker indicates in the letter that current CDC guidelines on campuses contradict the guidelines for youth camps. He added that barring evidence to the contrary, they plan to make the guidance effective.
The letter comes as New York health officials are being urged to rescind mask guidelines for children in schools as the warmer weather commences. It also coincides with the decrease in the COVID-19 infection rate and more individuals becoming fully inoculated.
Children are regarded as less likely to spread the novel coronavirus. Mask rules overall in New York have greatly subsided, excluding some circumstances such as health care facilities or mass transit.
Current federal guidelines call for consistent and proper use of well-fitting face masks with proper filtration by all students, staff, and teachers on campuses. To support his proposed New York face mask guidelines, Zucker also underscores there is no distinction between mask-donning for indoor versus outdoor activities. He added that the CDC language does not address vaccinated individuals.
The CDC currently advises that face masks be worn in schools, both indoors and out. In camps, face masks are "strongly encouraged."