By: Follow South Jersey Staff
SOUTH JERSEY – Because of the dramatic decline of COVID-19 cases in the state, New Jersey students and staff will no longer be mandated to wear masks indoors at school beginning Monday, March 7, Governor Phil Murphy announced today.
“Additionally, we will lift the statewide mandate in all childcare settings,” the governor added.
Murphy stated that is is making the announcement early so that school have time to prepare. He also announced that he will extend the Public Health Emergency by 30 days to allow the school mask mandate to continue until March 7.
“Masking continues to be an important tool to prevent the spread of COVID and should be used in many circumstances,” Murphy said.
Murphy added that in the coming weeks, the NJ Department of Health will be updating its guidance to help school districts make the best decisions as to whether or when masks should be worn.
While the mandate for students, staff, and visitors to wear masks is being lifted, Murphy said that what is not being lifted is the school leaders ability to maintain a policy of masking in schools.
“Likewise, any student, educator, or staff member, or visitor who choses to continue masking-up while indoors, may freely do so,” Murphy stated. “And we expect 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.”
This will be the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that schools would be allowed to have students and staff in classrooms without masking.
“This is a huge step back to normalcy for our kids,” Murphy said.
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