Ulster and Dutchess counties to lift school mask mandates on March 2 – Daily Freeman
KINGSTON, NY – Ulster County Superintendent Pat Ryan and Dutchess County Superintendent Marc Molinaro announced Sunday that they will both be lifting mask mandates in area schools starting Wednesday, March 2.
Their announcements came shortly after Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Sunday that the statewide mandate was lifted this week. She said counties and cities could keep their own mandates in place and parents could still choose to send their children to school in masks, according to The Associated Press.
During a briefing in Albany, Hochul cited declining COVID-19 cases and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Associated Press reported.
Ryan said in a prepared statement that the mask requirement for Ulster County will be lifted in both schools and daycares.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have prioritized the health and safety of our children. Fortunately, COVID-19 cases in Ulster County are down 97% since the Omicron surge and the risk to public health is significantly reduced,” Ryan said. “In accordance with New York State’s decision to waive the mask requirement for children two years and older, and based on the CDC placing Ulster County in the ‘low’ community tier COVID-19.”
Molinaro welcomed the decision in his statement.
“Dutchess County urged the governor to end the use of emergency powers,” Molinaro said. “We welcome the end of mask requirements for our children later this week – and will not take any action to require them locally.”
The Archdiocese of New York has also announced that it will no longer require masks in its parochial schools, which locally include Kingston Catholic School in Kingston, Regina Coeli School in Hyde Park and Our Lady High School. of Lourdes to Poughkeepsie.
“We will encourage the continued use of masks but will respect the choice of each parent and staff member,” Michael J. Deegan, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of New York, said in a statement. “As part of our Catholic Values Infusion program, students learn that we all have a moral responsibility for the good of all and that we must respect each other. As a school community, we must respect each other’s decisions but remain united as a community of faith.
Hochul’s latest move to ease pandemic-related restrictions comes after the Democrat allowed a broader mask mandate for most indoor settings to expire earlier this month, the Associated Press reported. Masks remain compulsory on public transport.
The move comes as counties across the region continued to report active case counts far below what they were at the height of the omicron wave in mid-January. Dutchess County reported Sunday it had 165 active cases as of Friday, Feb. 25, up four from Saturday when it reported 161, according to the county’s online COVID-19 dashboard. Dutchess said it has recorded 63,148 cases since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Dutchess County reported no new deaths related to COVID-19 on Sunday. The county has recorded 648 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Ulster County did not update its COVID-19 statistics on Sunday. According to the government’s online COVID-19 dashboardit had 221 cases as of February 24, an increase of six from 215 the previous day.
The county reported no new deaths Thursday, leaving its pandemic total at 370.
Ulster said there were 36,787 confirmed cases of illness and 36,196 recoveries.
Dashboard figures do not include home test results not reported to health services.
Here are the latest local statistics on COVID-19:
Data as of Saturday February 26 of the State Department of Health.
• Ellenville Regional Hospital, 3
• HealthAlliance Hospitals in Kingston, 8
• Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck, 2.
• Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, 10.
• Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie, 3.
New York Data online state vaccine tracking.
• Ulster County: 73.8% fully immunized, 81% with at least one dose of a two-dose schedule, 89% of the population aged 18 and over with at least one dose.
• Dutchess County: 68.6% fully immunized, 76.5% with at least one dose of a two-dose schedule, 85% of adults 18 years and older with at least one dose.
For local online coronavirus-related coverage, go to dailyfreeman.com/tag/coronavirus.