New York’s school mask mandate will be lifted Wednesday

NEW YORK — New York’s statewide school mask mandate will come to an end on Wednesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Sunday.

The state’s mandate will be lifted, but local officials may choose to continue requiring masks indoors, Hochul said.

“Given the decline in our rates, our hospitalizations, strong vaccination rates and the CDC guidance, my friends, the day has come,” Hochul said. “We’ll be lifting the statewide mask requirement in schools, and that will be effective this Wednesday, March 2.”

New York’s COVID positivity rate is at its lowest point since the winter Omicron surge started, Hochul said. Cases have been dropping for the last month and a half.

“We’re at our lowest point in pediatric cases since July of 2021, and that was before the school year started. So this has been our trend over this school year,” Hochul said. “So as you can all see, looking at the data and the evidence that we follow, that we are in a much, much better place.”

Out of the nation’s largest states, New York has the highest or second highest vaccination rate in key age groups (5-11, 12-17 and 18+), according to the governor.

Stay with CBS2, CBS News New York and CBSNewYork.com for updates.

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