Governor “Winter Surge 2.0” briefing includes mask mandate extension, school opening plans

Governor “Winter Surge 2.0” briefing includes mask mandate extension, school opening plans

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced she will extend her indoor mask mandate by two weeks, keeping it in place across New York through January 29, 2022 rather than its original January 15 expiration.“This is all geared toward keeping the economy open,” she said during her New Year’s Eve “Winter Surge 2.0” press briefing. “The alternative is to shut it all down.”“The reason that we don’t have to do this is that we now have the defenses in place – testing, vaccines, boosters, masks – that we didn’t have in March 2020,” she said. “We can take steps to make sure we’re protected against Omicron.”The governor recommended wearing KN-95 masks, announcing that she had sent “five million masks” to counties across the state.Governor Hochul said New York is sending some six million COVID test kits to the state’s school districts in time for the post-holiday season reopening currently scheduled for Monday, January 3, 2022.“We have on-going calls with school superintendents and school boards to see that they have what they need to keep kids in school,” she said. “It’s so critical to keep kids in school.”The governor pointed to New York’s new “test to stay” website outlining the new protocol school districts can follow in order to keep students on-site in the new year.New York’s materials describe “test-to-stay” (TTS) as “a strategy that allows asymptomatic unvaccinated school-based close contacts (e.g. students, teachers, school staff) to avoid school exclusion (but not other restrictions of quarantine) by testing negative through serial testing using rapid NAAT or antigen tests during a seven-day period following exposure.”The governor’s wide-ranging press briefing included her announcement that the State University of New York – including SUNY Oneonta – will require full vaccination and boosters from students and faculty to return to campus in January 2022. She said the requirement will recognize the date of booster eligibility.“We know the date they received their first shot, so we know the date they’re eligible for the booster,” Governor Hochul said. She added her administration is coordinating with private schools and universities for similar protocol.Governor Hochul returned repeatedly to her call for all New Yorkers who are eligible to receive vaccinations and boosters where possible.Pointing to a chart showing hospitalizations among New Yorkers, she noted the vast gulf between the unvaccinated who are hospitalized and those who are vaccinated.“This situation is 100 percent preventable,” she said. “The lesson is so simple. Don’t refuse to do something that is so simple. We keep coming back to this. There’s an extraordinary difference between the vaxxed and unvaxxed in our hospitals.”


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