Incoming mayor renews debate over masks in school

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NEW YORK CITY — With COVID-19 shots going into the arms of younger children, the debate about masks in schools is heating back up.

It was reignited by Mayor-elect Eric Adams over the weekend. He suggested that an Adams administration would seek to unmask children in time while “following the science.”

“If we can find a safe way to do it, I look forward to getting rid of the masks,” said Adams on CNN. “But it has to be done with the science, we are not going back to turning off our city and closing it down.”

Current Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly defended masking in schools as part of a comprehensive approach to COVID safety. He continued to do so Monday with Adams raising the issue.

“Because we are going into the cold weather months, because we are still learning about COVID all the time, because we still have a lot of people to get vaccinated so the day will come,” de Blasio said. “Perhaps relatively soon, but we are not there yet.”

It’s notable that Adams raised this issue on a national Sunday show, after being elected, and as he seeks to raise his national profile.

The mayor-elect has also suggested a strategy that the current administration has been hesitant to implement: a vaccine mandate for children in schools once the jab is fully approved by the FDA.

Adams has also expressed more openness to a remote learning option than the current administration.

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