Erie County Health commissioner: State school COVID guidance doesn’t allow for students to take “mask breaks” | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – New York State doesn’t allow students to take “mask breaks” during the day, Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein told administrators at the Williamsville School District on Friday.

Dr. Burstein said that the county health department had received complaints about the use of mask breaks in Williamsville schools, and had questions from other district about allowing mask breaks.

Burstein says the county health department was told by the New York State Department of Health school team lead Travis O’Donnell on Oct. 29 that the state’s guidance doesn’t allow for students to take off their masks at school.

Erie County school guidance did include a “mask break” option before the NYSDOH set school guidance into place in September.

Williamsville School District superintendent Dr. Darren Brown-Hall voiced his concerns in a return letter to Dr. Burstein, dated Monday.

Dr. Brown-Hall says that the “mask breaks” offers a brief relief for students who are masked all day.

He also mentioned that counties are able to make key COVID decisions for schools, such as adopting “Test Out of Quarantine” protocols.

Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.

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