Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday said the ongoing requirement for masking on mass transit systems in New York state could be changed and is part of an ongoing "conversation." 

Any change would come as New York has scaled back its COVID-19 pandemic guidelines to be more in line with recommendations announced in August by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"It's absolutely in conversation right now and we'll be making some announcements on that very shortly," she said. 

School children and teachers in the state are returning to classrooms this month with more relaxed guidelines for COVID-19 testing and quarantining to start the new year. Masking rules have been previously lifted. 

Masking on mass transit systems in New York remain among the last of the COVID-related guidelines yet to be altered after more than two years of the public health crisis. Masks are also still required in health care facilities, nursing homes, jails, prisons and domestic violence shelters. 

Hochul has not ruled out returning to stricter rules if COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase in New York.