Three million COVID-19 test kits will be going to school districts ahead of the fall reopening as no plans are in place to return to indoor masking rules for students and staff, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday said.
Hochul in New York City gave an update on the state's response to a pair of ongoing public health challenges: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as the emerging spread of monkeypox.
State officials are planning how to help schools in New York reopen now ahead of September. Those plans include sending millions of COVID-19 test kits to schools for distribution.
For now, Hochul has no plans to require kids and school staff to be masked inside school buildings when they return to the classroom. But the governor also did not rule out bringing the requirement back based on the potential of rising COVID-19 numbers as well as emerging variants of the virus.
"I'm going to reserve the right to change this policy," Hochul said.
Schools have been a particular point of concern during the pandemic as education leaders at the state and local level have vowed to not return to a virtual learning model. Students, many of whom in low-income households, struggled to keep up during the at-home learning policies.
Masking in schools have also proven controversial for districts to implement, and Hochul earlier this year ulitmately ended indoor masking rules after a surge in cases this past winter.