NEW CITY, NY — On Friday, Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announced amendments to the Commissioner’s Standing Order about coronavirus, masks and educational institutions that was issued Thursday.
To align the local order with New York State Department of Health and New York State Office of Children and Family Services guidance, early childhood day care was removed and adult learning programs were added.
Now the health order requires that all educational institutions, school-age childcare programs, adult learning programs including colleges and universities, and school transportation companies are responsible to require and ensure that all children, students, faculty and staff (who are able to medically tolerate a face covering) cover their noses and mouths with acceptable face coverings at all times, other than during approved mask breaks where students can maintain social distancing.
“It is critical that we do everything within our power to protect the children of our community,” said County Executive Ed Day. “This Order gives our inspectors the ability to issue fines to the businesses and institutions responsible for the safety of our children. While we have long been limited by the Governor in terms of actions that we can take locally related to COVID-19, his recent Executive Order 202.68 clarified the authority of the Health Department to act with respect to his Executive Orders and the New York State Department of Health’s regulations.”
If a child, student, faculty, staff member or visitor is observed without a face covering in any program, school or vehicle regulated under this Commissioner’s Order, that shall constitute a violation. Each violation is subject to a civil penalty of up to $2,000 per violation per day.
“We are in the midst of a deadly Public Health Emergency, and we have seen many recent cases linked to schools, daycares and congregate settings throughout the County. Masks have shown to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Given the recent increases in active cases, we must all redouble our efforts to protect the health of residents and especially children,” said Dr. Ruppert.
Reports of possible violations can be made to the County’s COVID-19 Hotline at (845) 238-1956 on from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday or via email to COVIDCallCenter@co.rockland.ny.us. Staff from the Rockland County Department of Health, Rockland Codes Initiative will respond in a timely manner to complaints and in accord with operating hours of educational institutions and/or buses.
This article originally appeared on the New City Patch