County governments should require mask wearing in schools amid an absence of a statewide mandate to do so, the New York State United Teachers on Friday said.
The umbrella labor group had previously urged the state to require mask wearing with some exceptions while indoors for schools as many are set to reopen in the coming days. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Sunday that while mask wearing is strongly encouraged, it's up to each local district to determine the protocol.
Health officials in Orange County this week announced a mask wearing requirement.
NYSUT has estimated about 200 school districts do not require mask wearing.
“While some school districts are doing the right thing and requiring masks at all times, we still are seeing others who refuse to take this basic step to protect the health of students, staff and families,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said.
“Orange County is taking a lead role in helping address the reservations that exist regarding reopening school buildings. We believe other county leaders should follow suit and address the concerns we’re still hearing from educators and parents.”