JAMESTOWN – The mask mandate for students in classrooms across New York State ended Wednesday, with schools across Chautauqua County returning to a pre-pandemic look and feel.
Jamestown Public Schools are among districts who dropped their masking requirement following Governor Kathy Hochul’s weekend announcement that she was relaxing rules.
The Governor says she made this decision based several key data trends. With COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continuing to decrease, and after consulting with public health and education officials, Hochul says we have come a long way and have reached a milestone.
Counties and cities are still able require masks in their schools, however Chautauqua County will not.
The relaxing measures are also impacting SUNY Jamestown Community College, with the school’s President announcing because JCC’s service areas of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties have been categorized as locations of low-to-moderate COVID-19 transmission, the school is lifting the requirement.
Even though a pre-pandemic feel is returning, health officials continue to stress the importance of monitoring the numbers and the importance of getting vaccinated.
According to the Chautauqua County Health Department’s COVID-19 Dashboard, the downtown trend of new infections continued last week with only 139 new cases reported and eight people seeking treatment at local hospitals. Nevertheless, three new COVID-19 deaths were reported last week.
In fact, local health leaders are discounting their weekly updates starting next week.
“Due to a community shift to rapid testing resources, we are only aware of a fraction of cases occurring in the community,” officials wrote in a message on the dashboard. “Our department will be compiling a list of data resources for individuals interested in monitoring the progress of the pandemic, and will continue to report of some of the measures included here.”
They say an updated reporting format will be released.