NEW YORK NOW – Rob Astorino, a Republican candidate for governor in New York, urged parents and school administrators on Wednesday to demonstrate “civil disobedience” over the state’s continued mandate that children wear masks while indoors at school.
Speaking to reporters in Albany, Astorino slammed the mandate, saying it’s caused confusion for parents around the state during the final weeks of the school year.
“I think it’s time right now for parents to show civil disobedience,” Astorino said. “Have common sense, and we need school districts and superintendents to marry civil disobedience with common sense. And that is no masks for the rest of the year.”
Masks are currently required for students while indoors at school, but not while they’re outside. Critics have questioned the policy, given that schools generally have lower transmission rates for the virus than their communities.
The issue has largely become one engrained in politics, with Republicans coming out strong against the mandate as a way to criticize Democrats — particularly Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo announced on Monday that masks would still be required indoors, though the administration had originally intended to lift the mask mandate entirely.
In a letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control last week, state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker informed the federal agency that the state would be allowing masks to be taken off at schools unless told otherwise.
But the CDC’s policy, as of now, is for masks to remain on in schools. That threw a wrench in the state’s plan, Cuomo said.
“They’re not going to change their guidance for several weeks,” Cuomo said of the CDC. “In New York State, we’re going to modify the CDC guidance and allow schools to choose no mask outside for children.”
Schools in New York are set to end the school year later this month.
Astorino is one of four Republicans seeking the party’s nomination for governor. Others include Andrew Giuliani, Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli, and Rep. Lee Zeldin, whose collected endorsements from most county chairs in the state.