‘No More Quarantining’: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Announces End Of School COVID Restrictions
Kathy Hochul, governor of New York, speaks during a news conference in New York, US, on Monday, Aug. 22, 2022.
Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY) announced Monday that the state is lifting its COVID restrictions for schools to align with updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

Hochul shared the announcement during a news conference in Manhattan.

“No more quarantining — no more ‘test to stay,’” Hochul told reporters. “The days of sending an entire classroom home because one person was symptomatic or tested positive — those days are over.”

The announcement seeks to reflect updated CDC health guidelines released earlier this month in an effort to simplify pandemic protocols.

“What that means is if a classmate tests positive for COVID and your child doesn’t have symptoms, your child can stay in school as long as they wear a mask under those circumstances. That’s what we’re recommending,” Hochul added.

Hochul has often been criticized for government overreach during the pandemic, particularly related to schools. The governor was among the last to announce the end of statewide school mask mandates, ending the practice in late February.

“With more New Yorkers getting vaccinated, and the steady decline over the past several weeks in cases and hospitalizations from Omicron, we are now entering a new phase of the pandemic,” Hochul said in a statement at the time. “Because New Yorkers have stepped up, we can confidently remove the statewide mask requirement in our schools. This is a huge step forward for our kids and communities and I am grateful to the students, educators and parents for their dedication to keeping us all safe—we’ve reached this milestone because of your hard work.”

The state continues to encourage vaccination. However, the latest update from the state does not currently require COVID vaccinations for students or staff to attend school for the 2022-2023 school year.

To help increase vaccination rates among students, Hochul has announced the #VaxtoSchool initiative, a “multi-faceted statewide campaign aimed at increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates among school-aged New Yorkers.” The effort includes more than three dozen pop-up vaccination sites, with more to be added.

New York’s COVID case numbers on Friday, according to the announcement, included 5,062 positive cases and 13 deaths. More than 73,000 deaths statewide have been reported due to the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

Other blue states have faced battles with schools and parents regarding COVID vaccination. California became the first state to require vaccination for public school attendance but later postponed the mandate until at least July 2023.

Washington, D.C., requires school students ages 12 and up to be fully vaccinated to attend class in person, making it one of the strictest mandates in the nation. Restrictions were eased as students first started the semester and have been given 20 days after the first day of school to get their shots to remain in class.

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