MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The latest mask guidance from the CDC has been a mixed bag for millions of families.

People who are fully vaccinated can take their masks off in most places. But where does that leave children?

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As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, parents and children rallied across Long Island Wednesday with impassioned pleas to Albany.

“A lot of kids still aren’t eligible for the vaccine but they have to keep wearing their masks?” said Locus Valley High School student Jenna Halpin.

Children up to age 11 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and must wear masks in school.

“Sometimes when I have my mask, I can’t breathe that much,” said 6-year-old John Carlino.


Since the state ruled unvaccinated children ages 2-5 will not be required to wear masks at day care or summer camp, older kids now ask “What about us, and our anxiety?”

“If they’re happy, you wont know at all. Or if they’re sad, you wont know and try to help them,” said 11-year-old Aidan Karpavicius.

“It’s insane. He is fearful going from one store to another without a mask on,” said parent Erica Dirubbio.

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“We should extend those recommendations to people that are 12 and up who are fully vaccinated. However, going maskless does come with its own set of considerations,” said Dr. Theresa Fiorito of NYU Langone Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

The CDC says young children are not at increased risk for COVID. The numbers are low, but they can still transmit the disease, and doctors do not yet fully know what that role plays.

“What are you telling your children about the masks?” McLogan asked.

“That they need to wear them. It’s very important,” said parent Dana Lord.

Many parents and kids aren’t yet ready to let go.

“I know it is keeping us safe and healthy and I know it is important to wear,” said 14-year-old Cali Gant.

Many are asking for local choice.

“If we unmask the kids and we still allow for parent choice. If you want to have your child in a mask, that’s OK. If you don’t, you don’t,” said Charles Murphy, superintendent of the Island Trees School District.

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For now, the state is not changing indoor mask protocols among older children and, when outdoors, encourages face coverings when feasible.

Jennifer McLogan