POLL: Should New Jersey Drop School Mask Mandate Before End of School Year?

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy extended the school mask mandate on January 10, adding that the mandate would continue for the “foreseeable future.” Recently, Murphy has hinted that the state could drop its school mask mandate before the end of the year if COVID-19 cases continue to drop.

Murphy spoke again about Covid cases in schools on Wednesday, sharing this chart:

“We are seeing a significant decrease in the overall rates of infection among all students and staff since their highs a few weeks ago,” Murphy said, speaking of the surge in cases due to the Omicron variant.

However, Murphy added that over the past two weeks, as some schools moved back to all in-person instruction, there has also been an increase in the rates of in-school transmission.

Around the country, there is a raging debate as to whether kids should continue to wear masks in schools. What do you think?

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  1. The poll needs an option for “depends entirely on what cases and transmissibility do over the next months.” Without that knowledge, there’s no way to make a call based on anything reasonable.

    “Maybe” is entirely too broad, but it was the best option available.

  2. A simple suggestion: wouldn’t the 34% or so of residents voting to keep the mask mandate feel more comfortable, and wouldn’t it be more equitable for the others, if their children returned to remote learning? If it’s that important that their kids be masked, the simple, fair and admirable position is that the children stay in the safety of their homes, to allow the rest of the students to return to normal. Don’t you all think that’s fair? It’s called simple civic give-and-take, a.k.a. compromise, decency.

    If parents want the mask mandate and do not have the means to care for their kids during the day, then the schools should provide “segregated” learning, masked from unmasked (and don’t tell Brigattista they don’t have the budget; Brigattista pays her taxes!). It’s a practical solution, and also a voluntary solution. In loco parentis, the schools provide the environment for “safety” while also not punishing those who want of a return to normalcy.

    Yes, I did use the word Segregation. Let the lawn signs sprout and the chants begin. Heresy! Burn Her! Cancel Brigattista! The Myrmidons of the occult authorities will hunt down Brigattista, but to what end? Omicron is fading, but the thrill of telling others what to do must go on.

  3. I really love this! The Free The Essex Swimming Pool argument.

    It’s sweltering Labor Day. The pool is closed. The neighborhood kids are acting like absolute crank monsters. Using a inflatable pool in the yard is not the same. Also, not all their friends can fit.

    We could open the Essex pool and allow children to swim without any lifeguards (the vax).
    Further, we take down the safety fences (the masks) so that children may be unrestricted in when they swim and dodge the Midtown Direct when they are not.

    [Note to parents providing their own, on-site safety measures: you can not interfere with risky behavior of other children. You bring the kids home and step under the garden hose while watching the live Ring camera feed of the pool.]

    The analogy goes on – diving in the shallow end, running on the pool deck, pooping in the pool, and so forth.

    Let’s do a mask-free test at Hillside for a month. Let’s also get all the Montclair pediatricians to step up to support Montclair to be mask-free schools. And let’s not cancel them if there are one or two ooops, but you knew the odds. Your child’s long covid condition was statistically insignificant outcome. A true outlier. All your child’s friends are fine.


  4. Thank you Frank.
    “Your child’s long covid condition was statistically insignificant outcome” really adds to the conversation. Maybe you should have run it by Dave before hitting send.
    Attica indeed.

  5. Governor Murphy has cravenly given in to the anti-vaxxers. Please let our Town Council and Mayor Spiller know you disagree with this obviously reckless idea. The Council was courageous in instituting a mask mandate…local businesses strongly support the Council as do our schools and parents, but we cannot let the Governor’s thoughtless political scheming dictate our local sovereignty. Please let your thoughts be heard!

  6. Let’s be honest about the conversation. The Plan, everywhere in USA, was, first & foremost, to protect the health care system from crashing.

    2nd priority was the economy. 3rd priority was minimizing casualties…which was bumped down and replaced with the mental health of the survivors. I get it. The conversation is on the macro level. The justifications are the interests on a personal level. I get this is the Plan. I’m just throwing out a dash of empathy as we move forward.

  7. So Frank, I read your comments all the time but I can never tell, are you for something, against something, agnostic about everything? Just this once, can you clarify?
    Let’s begin with, “The justifications are the interests on a personal level. I get this is the Plan.” I have absolutely no idea what this means. Is The Plan to make an anarchy of language? Is The Plan the 1st priority, the 2nd priority, or the 3rd Priority? Torture us no more, Frank. Explain!

  8. What you don’t seem to grasp is the overwhelming number of people who went through COVID asymptomatic, mild symptoms or just had a bad flu. And if you were young & healthy, the numbers were even better. I think we all agree on that.

    I am simply pointing out, that great outcome aside, we will have to say our final goodbyes to 1MM Americans by Winter’s end. We don’t track long haulers are permanently disabled due to COVID, but let’s assume it is also a sizable number. Let’s call it 2MM all in. Basically equivalent casualties to a regional war somewhere in the world.

    The consensus is normalcy have prevailed over COVID. We say we can react if another COVID strain takes a run at us. We’re smarter. We’re prepared.

    This COVID era is defined by reacting. We have been on the defensive the entire time. To use a warfare analogy, we have been fighting the last war for two years. Our vaccines provide a false sense of security, diminishing returns, and long lead times tot week. We are taking out our single best defense for large group engagements of low vaccinated populations. We know we don’t have ventilation. We gave up distancing last Fall.

    All I’m saying is people need to accept the additional casualties and people certainly can not reasonably say casualties can’t be part of the conversation. Some must suffer. That’s the social compact. I think you understand this full well.

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