New Jersey Schools To Lift Mask Mandate on March 7

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy made official today what he has been hinting at since January 2022: Effective Monday, March 7, the statewide mask mandate in schools will be lifted.

“We can responsibly take the step given the continuing drop in new cases and hospitalizations from Omicron, and the continued growth in vaccinations,” Gov. Murphy said Monday. “I thank the overwhelming majority of students, parents, administrators, educators, and support staffers who have worn their masks without problem or protest since our schools reopened for in-person learning.”

Murphy left the door open for individual districts or childcare providers to maintain their own policy regarding masking.

“We are removing the statewide requirement that all students, educators, staff, and visitors wear masks while indoors, but we are not removing the ability of individual district leaders to maintain and enforce such a policy within their schools or any private childcare provider from maintaining such a policy within their business should community conditions require. Likewise, any student educator or staff member or visitor who chooses to continue masking up while indoors may freely do so,” Murphy said. “We expect that schools will take swift disciplinary action against those who may try to demean or bully anyone who chooses to wear a mask. We will not tolerate anyone being put down by exercising their choice to mask up.”

Murphy said the state could responsibly take this step, given the continuing drop in new cases and hospitalizations and with all the evidence projecting a continued decline over the coming weeks.

“We are also buoyed by the continued growth and vaccinations and the expectation that the vaccines will be made available to children under the age of five,” he added.

The CDC has not yet changed its recommendation regarding indoor masking in schools by all students (ages 2 years and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

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