BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Masks are now optional in school districts across New York state, including many of the largest, following the end of a statewide mandate. Districts in Yonkers, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Albany were among those to stop requiring face coverings beginning Wednesday. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the end of the mandate over the weekend following a dramatic drop in COVID-19 infections. For many students, it marked their first time in a classroom without a mask since early 2020. In New York City, which has the nation’s largest school district, an indoor mask mandate is expected to be lifted Monday. Mayor Eric Adams says he plans to make a final decision on Friday.
Photo: FILE — Students wear face masks and are seated with empty desks separating them from their classmates in a 2nd grade class at School 16 in Yonkers, N.Y., Oct. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)