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American News Feb 27, 2022 8:04 PM EST

BREAKING: New York to lift statewide school mask mandate

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Sunday that the state would be dropping its school mask mandate, effective March 2.

BREAKING: New York to lift statewide school mask mandate
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Sunday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state would be dropping its school mask mandate, effective March 2.

"Our top priority has always been keeping kids in school and making sure our classrooms are safe," wrote Hochul.

"Now, with COVID cases declining by 98% since the Omicron peak and updated @CDCgov guidance in place, we will lift the statewide school mask requirement this coming Wednesday," she continued.

The removal of the mask mandate would affect all children ages two and older, including those in childcare facilities.

The announcement said that counties and cities could still choose to require masks, and parents could choose to send their kids to school with masks.

Hochul celebrated the state's accomplishments in regards to COVID-19, stating that New York is first in the nation "for fully vaccinated teenagers" and second "for fully vaccinated kids ages 5-11."

She also said that the state has had the lowest seven-day average of pediatric COVID-19 cases since July, and pediatric hospitalizations have declined in the state by 90 percent.

The state will be distributing more than 20 million COVID-19 tests to school districts.

Earlier this month, the state announced that it would be dropping its statewide indoor mask mandate, but left the school mask mandate in place.

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