LI school board votes to end mask mandate for students next month

Massapequa High School
Massapequa High School seen on Sept. 10, 2021. Photo credit Sophia Hall

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — The Massapequa Board of Education on Friday passed a resolution to end the mask mandate for students in the district starting next month.

Live On-Air
Ask Your Smart Speaker to Play W C B S Eight Eighty
WCBS Newsradio 880
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

When the New York State mandate on mask wearing in schools expires on Feb. 21, Massapequa students will no longer be required to wear face coverings while attending classes.

The resolution came after many parents, including Dana Durso, had pushed for masks to be optional.

Durso spoke with WCBS 880 following the announcement, saying she was proud to live in a town that listens to parents.

“I'm proud that they're fighting, and I think that the only way we're going to come through this is if we continue to fight,” she said. “We can't let the state kind of continue to take over our lives.”

The board has been very vocal about supporting parents’ choice for their children.

Some board members even attended Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s signing of an order that made mask wearing optional in the county.

The school district is now among the first in Nassau County to drop the masking requirements, saying in a statement, that it wants to regain local control.

“The Board has spent more than two years reviewing COVID health and safety measures and we believe that our educational community will remain safe, and students will benefit socially, emotionally and academically from this move forward,” the board said. “In collaboration and with input from community members, district administrators and faculty, our goal is to regain local control of our district and allow parents and individuals to make personal health decisions.”

Massapequa school officials added that N95 masks will be provided to any teachers, staff and residents who make a request.

In a statement, Blakeman applauded the district for “giving parents a voice, and the ability to choose what is right for them and their children.”

“Nassau County shouldn’t be painted with the same broad brush as the rest of the state, and I believe Nassau school boards and parents, who have their fingers on the pulse of their communities should have the power to make decisions that are right for them," Blakeman added.

Still, Gov. Kathy Hochul has continued to stress that the state has the final authority on school and mask wearing and noted that any school that ignores a public health mandate may lose state funding.

When asked about the Massapequa School Board vote at a press conference Friday, Hochul reiterated that the state Education Department is ensuring all mandates are being followed.

She added that masking mandates are “common sense” and added that it is not a permanent change.

“One of the best days I look forward to… is the day I can say these requirements are suspended and they did the job they were expected to do, we kept New Yorkers safe,” the governor said.