22 THE QUEENS COURIER • MARCH 3, 2022 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Story: ‘Anything can happen at any moment’: Queens
business owner concerned for friends and family amid
Russian invasion of Ukraine
Summary: After Russia launched a full-scale invasion of
Ukraine, Queens business owner and Maspeth resident
Stepan Rogulskyi said that he tries to stay in constant
contact with his family in Ukraine to make sure that
they are safe.
Reach: 9,505 (as of 2/28/22)
The path to maskless schools
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 offi cials 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.
Th e masks have been a safety requirement
allowing students to learn safely. It’s
no diff erent than having exit alarms on
doors, or fi re 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 eff ective
at helping people either avoid infection
altogether, or suff er 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 fi rst dose, and only 39% are fully vaccinated.
Th e overwhelming majority of vaccinated
children are teenagers — 88% of kids
13 to 17 have had at least the fi rst dose.
Meanwhile, in the elementary grade levels,
the vaccination rate is far lower: just 50%
of children had the fi rst dose, and 41% are
Th e 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
between Feb. 3-10 — the hospitalization
rates remain very low, under 1.5% of such
COVID-19 rates have been plummeting
in recent weeks aft er the omicron variant
fueled surge, giving New Yorkers even
greater hope that the worst of the pandemic
is behind us — and normalcy can be reestablished
But we’ve said that before during the
pandemic, only for another variant to
come along and put a dent in the progress
Students shouldn’t be required to wear
masks forever, but if we want to see a maskfree
school, parents must ensure their children
are protected from the virus, and help
reduce the chances of COVID-19 mutating
To New York City parents, we say: Do
your part and get your children vaccinated!
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Photo by Mike Groll/Offi ce of Governor Kathy Hochul
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the end of the indoor mask mandate in schools during a press
conference in Albany on Feb. 27.