New York City toddlers won’t be required to wear masks in schools or day cares starting Monday (June 13), Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday (June 9) morning in a move that lifted the public school system’s last remaining mask mandate.
Adams, who has felt immense pressure from parents to nix the requirement much sooner, said schools “have remained the safest place for our children” throughout the current COVID-19 wave. The move also affects city-funded day care centers.
The city lifted the indoor mask mandate for New York City public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade in early March, but retained the requirement for toddlers—citing their ineligibility for COVID-19 vaccines, and the age group’s “higher-than-average” hospitalization rates.
Many parents cheered Thursday’s announcement.
“I think there’s a difference between a recommendation and a mandate … I think parents finally have that choice and I think the mandate part of it is what made all of us really uncomfortable,” said Sumayya Ahmad, a member of NYC Toddler Parents for Mask Choice. “I think [a recommendation is] perfectly reasonable, but a mandate goes in the direction of overstepping boundaries.”