WXXI AM News

face masks

Dan Clark New York Now

Schools in New York are busy finalizing plans to partially reopen, and many colleges and universities have already begun classes. But those who work at the schools, including teachers and professors, say guidelines for when to wear masks need to be more comprehensive to help prevent spread of the coronavirus.  

The state’s largest teachers union, New York State United Teachers, wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, asking him to revise the policy on masks in schools to make them mandatory while in the classroom. 

Two weeks ago, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp sued the city of Atlanta to prevent it from enforcing a mask-wearing requirement. This comes as an increasing number of cities and states are mandating people wear face coverings in public. Stores and businesses across the country have such requirements, but how many are effectively enforcing those policies? When should masks be required indoors and outdoors? Who is eligible for an exemption?

Our guests this hour discuss mask etiquette: 

  • Dr. Marielena Velez de Brown, M.D., Monroe County Deputy Commissioner of Public Health
  • Dr. Mical Raz, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and professor of history and health policy at the University of Rochester
  • Molly Hartley, co-owner of Scratch Bakeshop

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Since April, New York state has required people to wear masks when they are outside of their own homes and cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from each other.

That rule has two exceptions: Children under 2 years old, and people who cannot “medically tolerate a face-covering” are not required to wear masks.

The first exception is clear, but the second remains open for interpretation even months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order took effect, said Dr. Mical Raz, a professor of history and health policy at the University of Rochester.

Provided

It’s an average day in the age of COVID-19. You wake up and get ready for work, don your face mask, and head to your job as a supermarket cashier. You’re hard of hearing, and reading lips helps you pick up what your hearing device misses. But right now, the face masks that customers wear make it difficult to discern their muffled words or know whether they’re speaking at all.

Dave Burbank

The director of Cornell University’s prison education program is leading a campaign to provide more face masks to inmates across New York state.

Rob Scott with Cornell said 225 inmates in the Finger Lakes region were enrolled in the school's prison education program for the spring semester. 

However, because of the pandemic, classes have ended. Scott said online instruction is not available for incarcerated students.