By Carol Tannenhauser
Schoolyards will never look better!
Starting Monday, February 28, masks or face coverings will no longer be required when students and staff are outside on school grounds, the Department of Education (DOE) announced on Friday. Masks will continue to be required indoors.
“Throughout the pandemic, our schools have remained some of the safest spaces for our students and staff, thanks to our gold standard health and safety protocol,” said Schools Chancellor David Banks. “I am so pleased that we are able to make this exciting announcement and safely allow students and staff to remove their masks when outdoors at NYC public schools.”
This decision is based on the fact that “the in-school positivity rate [is] under one percent – far below the citywide average,” a DOE release explained. “At this time, in-door masking will continue. We will continue to work in close partnership with the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and Health + Hospitals to monitor case rates, vaccination rates and other data points.
“The Department of Education also continues to maintain stringent COVID protocols, including increased ventilation, distancing when possible, a daily screener to make sure those with symptoms do not come to school and the distribution of test kits—all designed to identify persons with COVID rapidly for isolation and reduce possible transmission of COVID in schools.”