COVID-19 live updates: WHO warns of rising cases of omicron sub-variant

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New York state’s school mask mandate can remain in effect while a challenge to the order plays out in court, after an appellate judge issued a stay Tuesday against a lower court ruling that had struck it down.

“These measures are critical tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19, make schools and businesses safe, and save lives,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement Tuesday after the judge granted the state’s motion to keep the mandate in place. “We will not stop fighting to protect New Yorkers, and we are confident we will continue to prevail.”

A court hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday morning.

At least 20 districts across Long Island had immediately ditched their mask mandates after a judge in Nassau County said Monday that state education officials overstepped their authority when they reinstituted the mask mandate amid a winter surge in coronavirus cases.

The state education department has instructed school districts to keep the mandate in place, requiring all staff and students in pre-K through 12th grade to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

-ABC News’ Aaron Katersky

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