Hochul to order school mask mandate, pushing for tougher vaccine rules

Newly sworn-in New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called for statewide mask mandates in schools and tougher COVID-19 vaccine requirements Tuesday, her first day on the job following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo amid sexual harassment allegations.

In a televised address hours after taking office, Hochul, a Democrat, promised action to improve health protocols in schools, among other issues. She said she would direct state health officials to make masks mandatory for anyone entering public or private schools and that she wanted a requirement that school personnel get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

“None of us want a rerun of last year’s horrors with COVID-19, therefore we will take proactive steps to prevent that from happening,” she said. “To accomplish this in New York, we need partnerships with all levels of government and I’m working now on getting this done.”

Hochul said she would announce a series of policies related to schools later this week that will be “concise and consistent” and would give school districts “what they have been asking for.”

Officials in New York City on Monday announced a mandatory vaccination policy for all school staff, with no way to opt-out through frequent testing. – READ MORE