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Long Island Parents Protest NYS School Mask Mandate

MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- With less than a week before many schools start, the debate over a mask mandate continues to take center stage.

On Sunday, demonstrators took to the streets of Long Island to protest, CBS2's Thalia Perez reported.

READ MORECOVID Latest: New York Issues Statewide School Mask Mandate, City Continues Push To Vaccinate Students Before Classes Start

Many parents said they hope school districts defy Gov. Kathy Hochul's mandate because they say it should be up to them to decide whether their kids wear a mask or not in the classroom.

"My child will not be in a mask. My choice," Danielle Centofranchi said.

It's a debate that has parents on both sides of the fence speaking out.


Dozens from all across Nassau County rallied at John Jay Burns Park on Sunday morning and then marched along Merrick Road, including kids carrying signs. They were all voicing their opposition to children masking up at school.

"This year, I really feel like we really have to take a stand to kind of give other families the strength to say this is our choice," parent Lindsay Sutliff said.

READ MOREGov. Kathy Hochul Voices Support For School Mask Mandate, Calling It 'An Important Step'; On Long Island, Some Parents Push Back

Sutliff's two children, ages 10 and 11, are students in the Oceanside School District. She said no matter what the district says, her children will not be wearing masks.

But Ryan Gaunary, a Massapequa resident, had a different take on the issue.

"It's your choice not to send your kids to school then. You can homeschool. You could do things other than go into public school. When you are with all these other people, you need to keep them safe, too," Massapequa resident Ryan Gaunay said.

Currently, each school district has laid out their plans for the fall, with some school districts leaving it up to parents, like at Massapequa High School. Other districts have mandated masks in the classroom.

"To mandate that these kids, who are in these hot classrooms, many without air conditioning, and they are forcing them to be in it even when they are in the classroom and they're three feet or six feet away from the next person?" Gregg Goldfeder said.

But late on Friday, the state Department of Health announced a universal mandate inside all school buildings. So parents have been left wondering if their districts will abide by the mandate.

CBS2's Thalia Perez contributed to this report.

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