State lawmakers give final OK to extend Lamont's COVID orders through June 30

State lawmakers have voted to extend Gov. Ned Lamont's COVID-19 orders through June 30.
One of the orders includes allowing the state education commissioner to reinstate a statewide mask mandate if needed through the end of the school year. The commissioner plans to end the mandate on Feb. 28, leaving it to local school boards to decide on masking.
"Today's vote does not cede the mask authority to local school boards and districts," said Connecticut Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly.
"We are ending - effectively ending - if you believe what the governor has said very clearly, which is, that we will be ending a statewide mask mandate on Feb. 28," said state Sen. Matt Lesser.
School masks remain a controversial topic. Many parents want to know what would cause a statewide return to masking.
Lamont says the main metric is hospital admissions, but neither he nor the state health commissioner can give an exact number.
"Because Omicron is so different than Delta. Delta was highly infectious and virulent and sent people right to the hospital," said Lamont.
The state Senate is expected to declare a new COVID-19 emergency that keeps the state eligible for federal relief money but does not let Lamont issue new executive orders.