Parents push to drop mask mandates in schools if COVID levels continue to drop

Parents are speaking up about continued masks mandates, especially in the classroom, across the Hudson Valley.       
Dozens of parents spoke out at Wednesday's school board meeting in Chappaqua urging the district to lay out a plan once masking is no longer required.
COVID-19 numbers are steadily dropping and New York's indoor mask mandate is set to expire next week on Feb. 1.
The CDC still recommends everyone wear a mask in school regardless of vaccination status.
But they also recently admitted that the most commonly worn cloth masks, the same ones the CDC recommended in the early days of the pandemic, do not offer as much protection as N95 and KN95 masks.
Some parents argue that masks are doing more harm than good at this stage of the pandemic. Psychologist Dr. Alexandra Stratyner says some kids do struggle with masks but adds there's not enough evidence to show it negatively impacts kids as much as parents think. "Children themselves are very resilient but they learn what to be afraid of because they pick up on things that their family members are afraid of," she says.
While Chappaqua school officials say the district will go mask optional once the mandate has expired, they want to make sure people's decisions are respected. "Different families will be making different choices. What I ask is to please not vilify other people's choices especially to your children," said Chappaqua school board member Hilary Grasso.
School districts do not have control over mask requirements with the state's mask mandate in effect.
So far, Gov. Kathy Hochul has not said whether or not she will extend the mask mandate when it expires next week.