'Just want the choice': Parents call on state officials to modify school mask mandates with Putnam rally
Parents are continuing their call to put an end to the state's mask mandate with a rally outside the Putnam Historic Courthouse in Carmel Wednesday night.
Earlier in the week, students in the Carmel School District were able to remove their masks outdoors, but some parents at the rally say more needs to be done.
Dozens of parents at the rally demanded that New York state make masks optional in school, citing concerns over wearing them during the hot weather and because younger children are less likely to spread the virus or get sick.
"They have to use reasoning and thought when they make rules. Not just blanket, everybody has to do the same thing all the time, everywhere," said Kathy Zebzda of Garrison.
State officials planned on allowing school districts to end their outdoor mask mandate earlier in the week, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterated that wearing them indoors is still the safest option because kids under 12 years old aren't eligible for a vaccine.
"We're not looking to ban masks; it should just be up to the parents if they want to put a mask on their child. We just want the choice," said Christopher Harrigan of Mahopac.
"They're lifting for public places like restaurants and things like that, and we think the schools are the next place that should take place," another parent from Harrington said.
With only a few weeks left in the school year, the CDC says it's unlikely it'll update its recommendations before then.
Less than 10% of New Yorkers ages 12-15 are fully vaccinated so far.