NYC schools end mask requirement... outside

New York City school children will not be required to wear masks or face coverings when outside on school grounds.

Masks will still be required for all students, staff, and visitors inside schools.

"Throughout the pandemic, our schools have remained some of the safest spaces for our students and staff, thanks to our gold standard health and safety protocol," said Schools Chancellor David Banks. "I am so pleased that we are able to make this exciting announcement and safely allow students and staff to remove their masks when outdoors at NYC public schools."

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The school district did not give a timeline for ending the mask mandate inside of school buildings.  It says it will work with the city health department to monitor case rates, vaccination rates, and other data.

Banks says that the Department of Education continues to maintain stringent COVID protocols, including increased ventilation, distancing when possible, a daily screener to make sure those with symptoms do not come to school, and the distribution of test kits.

The Biden administration was expected to significantly loosen federal mask-wearing guidelines to protect against COVID-19 transmission on Friday.

The change comes as nearly all U.S. states that had put in place indoor mask-wearing mandates for the winter omicron surge are letting them lapse as cases have precipitously dropped nationwide. Some have eliminated the mandates entirely, while others have kept mask-wearing requirements in place for schools and medical facilities.

It was not immediately clear how the new CDC guidance would affect U.S. federal mandates requiring face coverings on public transportation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.