MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nassau County’s newly elected govt, Republican Bruce Blakeman, signed an govt order Thursday giving public faculties the choice to mandate masks.
It’s a transfer that runs counter to state laws, and is being referred to as unlawful and irresponsible by the governor.
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“It’s a quite simple message. The message is: the carrying of masks is optionally available,” Blakeman mentioned.
Nassau’s new chief has wasted no time making waves.
“Our county is bigger than 9 states and we don’t want individuals in Albany telling us what we needs to be doing right here in Nassau County,” Blakeman mentioned.
And with that, Blakeman signed three controversial govt orders that rule out a masks mandate for public college youngsters, county employees, and indoor locations or companies, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“He had the braveness to say what many people really feel, that we reside in America and issues needs to be selection,” Old Brookville home-owner Catherine Gugliucci mentioned.
Massapequa had been amongst these preventing the state masks requirement in faculties that was instituted final 12 months.
“As a college board, we have to meet and focus on it, however a minimum of we all know that now we have Govt Blakeman behind us,” board member Jeanine Caramore mentioned.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, nonetheless, mentioned not so quick, and took a shot on the new county govt.
“Individuals who have extra expertise in county authorities would know that state authorities, state legal guidelines prevail. The state Training Division has direct management over funding of colleges,” Hochul mentioned.
The United Lecturers Union additionally pushed again. Democratic leaders referred to as the masks directive harmful.
READ MORE: Bruce Blakeman Sworn In As Nassau County Executive, Draws Ire For Ceremony Not Requiring Masks Or Proof Of Vaccination
“It’s completely irresponsible, particularly at a time after we see COVID is on the rise on Lengthy Island,” Jovanni Ortiz mentioned, referring to the truth that Nassau and Suffolk counties mixed have highest variety of COVID circumstances within the state, amongst younger college students.
“I’ve talked to our lawyer right here in BOCES. I additionally talked to the senior deputy commissioner within the state Training Division,” Nassau BOCES Superintendent Dr. Robert Dillon mentioned. “I don’t assume the county govt has that authority.”
“I don’t imagine a college district can legally ignore a directive from the governor, nor will I like to recommend to the BOE in Jericho that we modify our mask-wearing insurance policies,” Jericho Superintendent Hank Grishman added.
Former Nassau County Govt Laura Curran signed no orders, however had supported faculties making their very own choices.
“We wish individuals to judge their very own circumstances and make the choice that’s greatest for them,” county Well being Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein mentioned.
With two-thirds of all hospitalizations in Nassau being among the many unvaccinated, Eisenstein mentioned the main target needs to be on vaccinations and boosters.
Lengthy Island residents that spoke to CBS2 weren’t precisely supportive of Blakeman’s transfer.
“I are inclined to aspect with science,” one particular person mentioned.
“It not solely protects you, it protects others,” one other mentioned.
“It’s not going to unify us and, sadly, it’s all political proper now,” one other added.
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The county can be doubling handouts of free COVID check kits and opening free vaccination pods over the weekend.
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