Board says district 'threatened' by state after temporary mask lifting for students

Some parents on Long Island say enough is enough after they were told masks would be options for kids at school -- only to have it become a mandate once again.

Video Transcript

- Some parents say enough is enough. After they were first told it would be optional for their children to wear a mask inside school, it has become a mandate once again. Long Island reporter Kristin Thorne has the story.

BETH HENRY: There are states and there are countries who have been unmasked. Look at that data. Kids are not sick, they are not dying. We do not need this.

KRISTIN THORNE: These parents and school board officials in Massapequa say two weeks is too long to require students to wear their masks inside non-air conditioned school buildings.

- This is about children. They are human beings.

KRISTIN THORNE: Yesterday, the Massapequa School District was one of three school districts on Long Island which were mask-optional before Governor Cuomo provided clarification around noon, saying masks would be required indoors.

Late last Friday, the New York State Health Commissioner sent this letter to the CDC saying effective Monday, June 7, masks would be optional inside school buildings unless the CDC said otherwise.

State officials didn't speak with the CDC until Monday morning, well after school had begun.

10th grader Alexa Blejec got emotional talking about what it was like to go to school without a mask yesterday.

ALEXA BLEJEC: I saw life everywhere. My teachers, I can finally see all the emotion.

- We're gonna get there. We're gonna get there. Don't worry.

[APPLAUSE]

KRISTIN THORNE: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says the mixed guidance from the state caused major confusion for school officials and parents.

LAURA CURRAN: I really think school districts should be empowered to make this decision for their communities.

KRISTIN THORNE: A spokesperson for Cuomo says the Massapequa superintendent asked state officials what would happen if the district did not follow certain COVID restrictions. Those with the Massapequa School Board say the district was threatened with fines, removal of school board members, and more.

JEANINE CARAMORE: And even contacting our insurance company to tell us that they shouldn't cover us.

KRISTIN THORNE: A spokesperson for Cuomo, said, "The district's superintendent was provided with the information and she thanked us. Attempts to make this anything more is outrageous and, frankly, a lie."