THE PATH TO
Governor Kathy Hochul earlier this week announced
that the statewide mask mandate in
schools will expire on Wednesday, March 2. And
Mayor Eric Adams announced plans to lift the
city’s requirement on March 7 if cases remain low.
For months now, Hochul and state school officials have
faced increasing pressure from a contingent of politicians
and parents who claim there’s no longer a need for children
to be required to wear masks in schools — alleging that it
somehow hinders the students’ ability to learn.
The masks have been a safety requirement allowing
students to learn safely. It’s no different than having exit
alarms on doors, or fire or lockdown drills, and we have yet
to see any parents or politicians demanding that they cease.
Nevertheless, there’s now a reasonable argument to be
made in favor of getting rid of the mask mandate — namely
the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and antiviral treatments
that have proven effective at helping people either
avoid infection altogether, or suffer only mild cases.
Vaccination remains the best defense against the virus,
but not enough New York City parents are getting their
children vaccinated. As of Feb. 20, just 44% of all youngsters
under 18 have received at least the first dose, and only 39%
are fully vaccinated.
The overwhelming majority of vaccinated children are
teenagers — 88% of kids 13 to 17 have had at least the first
dose. Meanwhile, in the elementary grade levels, the vaccination
rate is far lower: just 50% of children had the first
dose, and 41% are fully vaccinated.
The rate of children under 5 remains at 0%, because
there’s no approved vaccine for this age group yet. Preschoolers
and kindergarteners still have no real protection
against the virus. While pediatric COVID-19 cases continue
to happen — the American Academy of Pediatrics reports
that children comprised 21.9% of all infections nationwide
between Feb. 3-10 — the hospitalization rates remain very
low, under 1.5% of such infections.
COVID-19 rates have been plummeting in recent weeks
after the omicron variant-fueled surge, giving New Yorkers
even greater hope that the worst of the pandemic is behind
us — and normalcy can be re-established in full.
But we’ve said that before during the pandemic, only for
another variant to come along and put a dent in the progress
made. Students shouldn’t be required to wear masks
forever, but if we want to see a mask-free school, parents
must ensure their children are protected from the virus,
and help reduce the chances of COVID-19 mutating again.
To New York City parents, we say: Do your part and get
your children vaccinated!
HOW TO REACH US
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the end of the indoor mask mandate in schools during a press conference in
Albany on Feb. 27. Photo by Mike Groll/Offi ce of Governor Kathy Hochul
TIMESLEDGER | Q 12 NS.COM | MARCH 4 - MARCH 10, 2022
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As Grand Knight of St. Anastasia Knights of
Columbus in Douglaston, I offer my heartfelt
prayers for the people of the Ukraine both
there and here in New York.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian
military have declared war on the innocent
Ukrainian people. These people did no wrong and
only stood in the way of President Putin’s evil ambitions.
In my opinion, President Putin’s invasion is a
most egregious act and he must be stopped. As a veteran
of the U.S. Navy and a member of the American
Legion Post #103, and having served in the Vietnam
era, this war greatly saddens me.
Please pray for the Ukrainian people, who can
be oppressed from this horrendous and nefarious
invasion by these evildoers.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.,