By Jack Gournell
Now that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and two other Democratic governors plan to lift school mask mandates in his state, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams are facing pressure to do the same, the New York Post reports.
New Jersey’s mandate is set to end March 7, now that schools are seeing a less than 1% infection rate, though school districts are still free to impose their own restrictions.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also announced on Monday that schools in his state can end their mandate on Feb. 28. Delaware Gov. John Carney said on Monday his state will end school mask mandates on March 31. Murphy, Lamont and Carney all are Democrats.
Adams said at a press conference Monday that infection rates in New York City schools also were drastically down.
“The daily positivity rate in schools is now less than 1 percent,” he said. “We kept saying the safest place for our children is in a school building.”
Natalya Murakhver, a parent activist who opposes the New York City Department of Education’s mask mandate, called that news “great,” but added, “What is the action? While schools are the safest place to be, kids are suffering a terrible cost.”
Murakhver told the Post that “Everywhere we look, we see politicians and celebrities out without masks, enjoying life. They’ve gone back to normal. Why don’t we do that for kids?”
Statewide, schools fall under the mask mandate issued by Hochul for schools, which has been ruled unconstitutional, but is currently under a stay and still in effect until Feb 21.
New York Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, a Republican, said in a written statement that it is time for Hochul to “stop the insanity, end the mandates and let New Yorkers return to normal.”
“As states and entire nations drop pandemic-era restrictions, New York Governor Kathy Hochul is fighting tooth and nail to keep her unconstitutional mask mandate in place,” Ortt said.
Hochul on Monday called it “premature” to say whether she would follow Murphy in rescinding the mandate.