Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says she anticipates masks being required when school starts next month.
“Mask mandates is something that the health department has the authority to call for,” Hochul said after touring the Louis Armstrong Middle School in Corona, Queens. “They have that authority now. And I will assess whether or not that’s been called for. But I believe we need mask mandates for children to go back to schools.”
Hochul is set to take over as governor next Tuesday when Andrew Cuomo formally resigns following a sexual harassment scandal.
During a question and answer session with reporters, Hochul was asked specifically whether she anticipates calling the state legislature into a special session to address the eviction moratorium, which expires at the end of the month, and whether or not the legislature needs to approve statewide mask mandates in schools.
While she sidestepped the question of calling a special session, Hochul agreed both issues must be addressed in the coming days.
She met Tuesday with parent and teacher representatives. Hochul said they believe masks will be necessary to resume in person learning.
“That will have to be universal. It will be statewide. And it also is something that was supported by 99% of the stakeholders on the call yesterday, actually probably 100%. Everyone is calling for this,” Hochul said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said students will be required to wear masks when classes resume next month.
Hochul met on Tuesday with de Blasio and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
Hochul says she will spend the next 45 days carefully picking a cabinet, starting with her inner circle. She has said previously that any member of the Cuomo administration named in the scathing 165-page sexual harassment report on Cuomo will not be staying on in her administration.