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A Long Island school boards association says Blakeman can't defy Hochul's school mask mandate

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman signs executive orders on January 6, 2022, bucking the state's indoor mask mandate.
Artie Raslich
/
Office of Nassau County Executive
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman signs executive orders on Thursday bucking the state's indoor mask mandate.

A Long Island school boards association is pushing back against Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, saying that he has no legal authority to tell schools to abandon the state’s mask mandate.

During Blakeman’s first week on the job, he signed an executive order calling on school boards to vote on whether to obey the mandate. He argued the county has "home rule authority" and can decide what’s best for them.

“I want to give school boards the choice, I want to give businesses the choice as to whether or not to wear require to wear masks,” Blakeman said.

Hochul has threatened to withhold state funding from schools that disobey her mask mandate.

The Nassau Suffolk School Boards Association, however, said it’s clear who has authority over school, namely the board of regents, the governor and the state Legislature. In a letter to Blakeman, the association said counties have no more authority over school boards than schools have over the county.

In a statement, Blakeman said students have been wearing masks for over a year and that infection rates are still high.

Research from the CDC found that counties that chose to enforce mask mandates saw COVID-19 cases decrease… while counties that chose to opt out saw their cases increase.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.