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COVID-19: Westchester Adds School Mask Mandate, Evaluates Youth Sports Amid Case Increase

Westchester County Executive George Latimer offers his latest update on COVID-19 on Monday, Oct. 19.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer offers his latest update on COVID-19 on Monday, Oct. 19. Video Credit: Westchester Government

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Westchester, County Executive George Latimer is making some changes in schools to help curtail the spread of the virus.

During a COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Oct. 19, Latimer said that there is now a mandatory mask mandate in all schools for students and staffers, and the county will be reevaluating the safety of continuing certain youth sports.

Westchester has seen hundreds of new active COVID-19 cases reported in recent weeks, as the death toll continues to rise, with 12 people dying from the virus in the past two weeks, the same amount that died between Sunday, July 19 and Sunday, Sept. 13.

In response, Latimer said that all public, private, parochial, and charter school students will be required to wear masks outside of certain designated breaks, when eating, during heavy physical exertion or when a teacher allows them to be taken off.

Students must also wear their face coverings on school buses unless they have a medical exemption.

“The safety of our kids is the highest priority, and the safety of the adults with the children is also our priority,” Latimer stated.

“We know that one of the biggest differences between today and where we were two months ago is that there are students back at school, there are students back at colleges, neither of which occurred during the summertime months, or during the latter part of the spring.”

In addition to the mask mandate, the county plans on investigating and evaluating whether youth sports that started back up are attributing to the recent rise in new cases.

“We are going to be making an assessment of youth sports, in all of its manifestations. The Westchester County Health Department will do that,” Latimer says. “We are not prepared to shut down youth sports, but we’re going to be looking at them to assess the risks and how they’re being run.”

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