State education officials have told local school officials an indoor mask mandate will remain in effect as New York pursues an appeal of a state Supreme Court ruling issued Monday that struck down a Health Department rule requiring masks in all indoor public places, including schools, according to a letter sent to school districts.
"It is SED’s understanding that the Department of Health will appeal the Nassau County Supreme Court decision, which will result in an automatic stay that will unambiguously restore the mask rule until such time as an appellate court issues a further ruling," the letter from the state Education Department sent Monday night stated. "Therefore, schools must continue to follow the mask rule.”
State education officials point to "conflicting rulings" in other cases that have upheld the mask mandate in New York.
A New York Supreme Court judge in Nassau County on Monday struck down New York's indoor mask mandate, put in place last month amid the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 and set to expire on Feb. 1.
State Attorney General Letitia James' office has filed a notice of appeal in the case, according to court papers Tuesday morning.
The judge's ruling found the state Department of Health and the Hochul administration lacked the authority to put the mask manddate in place. Instead, the ruling noted the state Legislature could act.