Governor Kathy Hochul on Sunday, February 27 announced that the statewide masking requirement in schools will be lifted on Wednesday, March 2.
Hochul’s announcement included the option for counties and cities to continue keeping their mask mandates in place, but Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan released a statement saying that local schools would be able to follow suit.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have prioritized the health and safety of our children,” Ryan said. “Thankfully, COVID-19 cases in Ulster County have declined 97 percent since the Omicron surge and the public health risk is significantly reduced. In line with New York State’s decision to lift the mask requirement for children two years and up, and based on the CDC placing Ulster County in the ‘Low’ COVID-19 Community Level, children in Ulster County two years old and over will no longer be required to wear masks indoors in school or childcare settings effective March 2.”
Kingston City School District
“…the Kingston City School District (KCSD) will go ‘mask optional’ beginning on Wednesday. Any student, faculty/staff member, or visitor who would like to continue to wear a mask in the school setting are invited and encouraged to do so. The choice to wear a mask in school will be a personal and family decision.
Saugerties Central School District
New Paltz Central School District
“Since Ulster County has low transmission levels, starting on Wednesday, March 2, masks will be OPTIONAL for all students and staff members,” read a message from New Paltz Central School District Superintendent Angela Urbina-Medina. “We ask for everyone’s respect for individuals who choose to continue wearing masks at school. None of us know the health concerns of our students and staff or of their loved ones and this personal choice should be respected by everyone.”
Urbina-Medina said that lifting the mask mandate did not mean the pandemic was over.
Onteora School District
The Onteora Central School District will also be following this guidance and masks will be optional for students in the school buildings. “We anticipate further guidance from the State, County, and DOH on what the procedure will look like,” Interim Superintendent Marystephanie Corsones wrote in a statement on the district’s website. “We will provide updates as additional information becomes available.”