Newly sworn-in New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Tuesday that she plans to institute a mask mandate for students at schools in the state. Staff will be required to be either vaccinated against COVID or tested weekly for the virus.
In her first address as governor of New York, Hochul said her first priority is the safety of New Yorkers, particularly children.
“None of us want a rerun of last year’s horrors with Covid-19, therefore we will take proactive steps to prevent that from happening,” she said in remarks after being sworn in at midnight, following Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation.
School staff that do not want to be vaccinated will have the option to be tested weekly, Hochul said. There will be a universal mask mandate for anyone who enters a school. Later this week, her office will release "concise and consistent" policies for schools.
The longtime public servant and Buffalo native, Hochul, 62, also promised to work to reform ethics in the state legislature and be a collaborative leader.
She served as the Erie County clerk and a U.S. representative for New York's 26th congressional district before working as Cuomo's lieutenant governor for six years prior to his resignation, over sexual harassment and hostile work environment allegations.
After taking her oath of office, Hochul made history as the first female governor in the history of New York. She will serve out the remainder of Cuomo's term through December 2022. She has already said that she plans to run for re-election.