Parents, students protest mask mandate at Northern NY school

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 4:55 PM EST
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ELLENBURG DEPOT, N.Y. (WCAX) - Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday extended New York’s mask mandate as an appeals court determines whether it’s legal.

Hochul says the state’s mask mandate is now in effect until at least Feb. 10. It was set to expire on Feb. 1.

In the meantime, an appeals court is hearing arguments about the mandate after a state Supreme Court judge declared it unconstitutional earlier this week.

All of this highlights the politics of masking, and that played out Friday in the North Country, where protesting families pushed school officials to let their maskless children inside.

Friday, a group of parents from Northern Adirondack Central School District marched to the school in what they are calling a peaceful protest demanding their children have the right to choose.

As buses lined up at Northern Adirondack High School, so did a handful of parents and their children.

“We want to show them the proper way to do this. To me, it’s peaceful. You don’t have to be loud to make an impact,” mom Amanda Coryea said.

The parents want the school to change its mask mandate requiring kids to mask up when inside.

“It should be a choice,” Coryea said. “We live in the United States of America.”

The school superintendent declined an interview but sent a statement saying it will continue to follow the state education and health departments’ requirement of mask-wearing in schools.

“I find it outrageous that we still have to do it,” said Leah Manor, an eighth-grader.

Some students were happy to see their parents take a stand because they find masking a nuisance.

“Uncomfortable, hard to breathe in most of the time,” said Tyler LeClair, a ninth-grader.

But other students say even if the mandate goes away, they will continue to wear their masks.

“I definitely will wear it because I want to stay safe and protect my family,” said Aubrey Pickering, a ninth-grader.

As for the students turned away at the door...

“I really appreciate all the parents and the kids that are sticking up for what we are doing right now,” Manor said.

“We knew this was the outcome. We knew they wouldn’t let our children in the school,” Coryea said.

They remained out of school for the day.

“Probably won’t wear one again on Monday, try to go in without one again,” LeClair said.

And parents plan to move forward looking into legal options regardless of a mask’s ability to mitigate the spread of the virus and keep people safe.

“No child should be denied their education over a mask mandate,” Coryea said.

Related Story:

Judge overturns mask mandate in New York

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