‘We’ve got to give our children back their voices,’: Parents on school mask mandate

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to make a decision on her statewide indoor mask mandate Wednesday.

Tuesday, News10NBC reported that she intends to extend her mask mandate for schools through February break and re-evaluate afterward.

Parents like Gigi Leno of Newark told News10NBC’s Patrick Moussignac that they want to see Hochul’s mandates come to an end, or they say individual school districts should have the power to make their own decisions.

"It’s just unfair," Leno said. "It makes no sense. There is no real logic behind it."

Tuesday afternoon, Leno participated in the Roc Off the Mask rally at the Four Corners in Pittsford.

"We’ve got to give our children back their voices," Leno said. "Give them back their childhood. Give them back everything that they deserve."

Organizer Eric Koomen said he believes the voices of parents need to be heard.

"We weren’t speaking up," Koomen said. "We weren’t being heard. We weren’t organized. we weren’t getting our message across, and two weeks later this is the kind of the result."

Hochul’s office is being tight-lipped about her upcoming announcement.

Twenty-three local school superintendents did send her a letter asking her for an exit plan and Tuesday, school superintendents met with Hochul where they say she told them she plans to extend the school mandate through the February break and re-evaluate afterward.

Some parents attending the Churchville-Chili School Board meeting Tuesday night, like Marla Parsons, say they’re willing to work with a "mask optional" choice.

"Believe it or not there are some parents who would like their children to still be able to wear a mask, and I believe in choice cause we live in America," Parsons said.

School Superintendent Lori Orologio said right now, it’s waiting and see.

"We are waiting for remarks tomorrow from Governor Hochul in regard to any potential changes for face masks, or other COVID compartments," Orologio said.

Click here to read the superintendents’ letter.