Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that for now, all New York City public school students will continue to be required to wear masks while inside classrooms come September, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.
The news comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) loosened their masking guidance on Friday, recommending that vaccinated students and staff no longer need to wear a face covering inside the classroom.
The CDC still recommends social distancing of at least three feet.
“I’m absolutely confident based on this guidance and everything else we've seen that we'll be able to get all our kids back into school in September, but for now, sticking with the idea that, you know, wearing the masks is a smart thing to do in schools,” de Blasio said at his morning press briefing, adding, “We'll keep assessing as we go along.”
With COVID-19 vaccination rates stalling out in certain neighborhoods across the city and the Delta variant surging in pockets across the country, de Blasio and Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city health commissioner, emphasized the need to replicate last year’s cautious approach to reopening city schools.
“What I will say is that the CDC guidance mirrors the layered approach to prevention of COVID-19 that has worked in our schools thus far,” Dr. Chokshi said.
De Blasio did leave room for the possibility for further updating school masking guidance in the weeks to come, saying that conversations with colleagues at the Department of Education are ongoing and parents can expect “a lot of communication before school begins.”
“For now, assume we're wearing masks, but that could change as we get closer,” the mayor said.