An Open Letter on the Importance of Mask-Wearing in NYC Public Schools

December 19, 2022
COVID-19 New York City schools

To: New York City Mayor Eric Adams

Subject: The Importance of Mask-Wearing in NYC Public Schools

Dear Mayor Adams,

I am writing to urgently request that indoor masking requirements be reinstated in NYC public schools as a precaution against COVID-19 transmission and other respiratory viruses. With infections on the rise in the city, it is more important than ever that we take every necessary measure to protect the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff.

SARS-CoV-2 is a novel pathogen, and the long-term health effects of any COVID-19 infection (even an asymptomatic infection) are still not fully known. Given this uncertainty, the precautionary principle should inform our decisions pertaining to the COVID-19 response - especially ones that affect children. Both the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the CDC currently recommend that people in all five NYC boroughs wear masks to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. In addition to COVID-19, two other respiratory viruses are currently circulating in New York City: influenza and RSV. Masking would provide an additional layer of protection against these outbreaks as well. Given these recommendations, it is crucial that we implement all available preventive measures in NYC public schools to protect the health and safety of our school communities.

Wearing masks has been proven to be an effective measure in reducing the spread of respiratory viruses, particularly in indoor settings where the risk of transmission is higher. It is essential that we require masks to be worn indoors in order to prevent outbreaks within school communities.

I understand that mask-wearing can be inconvenient and may pose some challenges, but the potential benefits far outweigh any temporary inconvenience. The well-being of our students, teachers, and staff must be our top priority, and I strongly believe that reinstating indoor masking requirements in schools is essential in that regard.

I urge you to act quickly on this request and to take all necessary actions to protect the health and safety of our school communities. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Sincerely,
Isaac Michaels, MPH



NYCDOHMH Advisory:





CDC Guidance:



https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html


https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state=New+York&data-type=CommunityLevels


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