New York is back open. The New York State Fair will be at 100% capacity. But kids still have to wear masks in school and have socially distant or virtual graduations. And parents aren't happy.

"If they can open up the fair to 100% the limitations on graduations should be lifted as well," said Michelle Hopkins Loosman. "These kids have missed out on so much the last year and a half, why not give them a normal graduation at least."

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) still recommends kids wear masks in school and host socially distant or virtual graduations again this year.

"I don’t think it’s fair for thousands of people to be able to attend the store, fairs, social gathering or other events but I can’t see my 5 year old wear a cap and walk across a stage outside or social distances in a gym," McKayla Gettle said.

On June 4 the New York Department of Health announced masks will be optional for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in schools. The same day, New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta released a statement imploring school districts to "closely evaluate local conditions and connect with their educators and parents to decide the best course of action for protecting their school community."

Wendy Wilson works at an elementary school and agrees with most parents. "These kids need to go mask free."

A rally was held on June 14 demanding kids be allowed to drop the masks.

Credit - Gillian Sloss
Credit - Gillian Sloss

It's not just a health concern for parents. Niki MacBlain, who has to watch her child's 8th grade graduation on a YouTube link in the school parking lot, says it's a mental concern too. "Some kids are seriously struggling inside, but no one is talking about it."

Adah Poquette's first grade son has changed his perspective in regards to school. "He absolutely loved kindergarten and flourished socially and educationally. He was trying new things and making friends and learning so much. This year, he says he hates school. This was my son's first grade class photo. Socially distanced and masked. I couldn’t even tell which child was mine."

Credit - Adah Poquette
Credit - Adah Poquette

Jessica Rowe works in an alternative education program and thinks masks should be optional for kids if they are in a classroom with vaccinated adults. "We've heard kids are less susceptible to the severe symptoms, so I don't see the need to continue forcing kids to put them on or pull them up."

The school year is almost over and Angela Denslow say a part of her thinks the kids have gone this far. "Might as well finish off the school year. No one wants to start the summer on quarantine and I don't want my child in a mask but one more week at this point isn't going to make or break them."

Only time will tell if kids can go back to school in the fall mask free.

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