ALBANY – Assemblyman Joseph Angelino (R,C,I-Norwich) is signing on to legislation that would prohibit state agencies from mandating mask and face coverings for children under the age of 18. This would once again put the control back into the hands of local authorities and schools in determining the appropriate response for their communities.
“The state has wielded too much control over our children by imposing oppressive mask mandates that really should be lifted by now. Our COVID-19 rate is one of the lowest in the country and our policies should reflect our new reality,” said Angelino. “New Yorkers have done a great job stopping the spread of the virus and have done much to protect their children. It’s time to let kids be kids and have a normal life again.”
The state Department of Health (DOH) had lifted the mask requirement on Friday, June 4. Then on Sunday, June 6, the state Education Department (SED) said it would not lift the mask mandate. The next day, the governor on Monday, June 7 said the mask requirement would be lifted for outside activities only. This back and forth between the health and education departments, along with the governor, created frustration for parents and school administrators.
Members of the Assembly Minority Conference announced the new legislation at the state Capitol at a rally held outside with parent and educator advocates, calling for an end to masking children in schools and camps. The bill would not require any child without COVID-19 symptoms to wear masks in public places or while participating in recreational or organized sports. The bill is meant to cover children in schools, sleep-away and day camps.
The state boasts one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 infection at 0.58 percent and one of the highest rates of vaccination in the nation. To date, the Southern Tier has a seven-day average infection rate of 0.7 percent and more than 333,000 individuals who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
– From the Office of Assemblyman Joseph Angelino