New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced that the state's schools would retire their guidelines on COVID-19, including rules to quarantine after being exposed to the virus.
The Democratic governor's decision comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its COVID recommendations to drop self-isolation and social distancing on Aug. 11.
''No more quarantining — no more 'test to stay,''' Hochul told reporters at a Manhattan press conference. ''The days of sending an entire classroom home because one person was symptomatic or tests positive — those days are over.''
''No longer are we going to be sending kids home, keeping them away from that essential experience of being together in the classroom, because we are now still dealing with the fallout of those decisions made when we had less information,'' she added.
Hochul also revealed that several COVID programs would be scrapped, including one that required constant testing of kids in close contact with the virus and another that randomly tested asymptomatic students, faculty and staff.
Republican state Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt applauded the governor's decision but qualified it as ''long overdue.'' He further called for Hochul to end all remaining COVID restrictions, according to the New York Post.
The move to end school COVID rules also comes in the middle of election season. Hochul will face Rep. Lee Zeldin, the state's Republican nominee governor in November, with a new Siena College poll indicating she holds a 14-point lead.
Zeldin, who has represented the state's 10th Congressional District since 2015, previously fought against a push from top New York Democrats to institute sweeping COVID measures earlier this year. Joining Newsmax's ''Saturday Report'' in December, he attributed the push to liberal candidates' desire to win their primary races.
''Ideologically, you have people who want to pursue opportunities for more government control,'' Zeldin said. ''[They are] people who believe that the science should follow the politics, as opposed to politics following the science.''
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