ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s getting closer to the first day of school for many students across New York State, and many teachers and staff are already back in the classroom to prepare. 

The New York State’s Department of Health made an announcement on Friday that it had filed an emergency regulation to require everyone inside K-12 public and private schools to wear a mask. 

“We want to see our students back in our classrooms, and we pretty much will do whatever it takes to have that, and if it means we’re wearing masks, so be it,” said Albany Public School Teachers’ Association President Laura Franz.

While the guidance was not expected to be issued under the Cuomo Administration, Governor Kathy Hochul had said it would be forthcoming. 

The New York State Council of School Superintendents had advocated for statewide guidance on masks. 

“For better or worse over the last 18 months, we’ve had a lot of practice with having to adapt to sudden changes and requirements coming from the state, so this is not anything new,” said Bob Lowry with NYSCOSS.

Lowry says the Council is hoping for a school year more like 2019 than 2020, but that schools are prepared with contingency plans in the event of a surge in infections. 

“Some southern states, they had earlier starts to school year than we do, and in some cases, more relaxed rules. And they’ve already had to revert to putting hundreds, even thousands of students, into remote instruction or quarantine, and we want to avoid that,” Lowry said.