New York state is backing off on a plan announced Friday, May 4 to make mask-wearing optional in K-12 schools starting May 7.

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The state’s health commissioner announced the plan in a Friday letter to federal health regulators. It said, however, it would back off if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided data or science that would contradict the planned change.

Sunday, May 6,  the New York State Education Department sent guidance to the 700 school districts in the state saying state agencees have agreed to wait until they hear back from the CDC on the Health Department’s letter.

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Republicans had urged Democrat, Governor Andrew Cuomo to drop the mandate last week.

The release of the letter Friday caught school leaders and teachers unions by surprise.

The CDC recommends schools continue to follow COVID-19 prevention strategies for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year.

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