NJ School Mask Mandate Ends March 7, But Could Masks Come Back?

It’s been a focal point of anger and disagreement in New Jersey for over a year, but the feuds are finally over.

Beginning Monday morning, the school mask mandate in the Garden State is lifted and school district leaders will have the option to allow students, teachers and support staff to remove their face coverings in school buildings and in school buses.

During the last regular COVID update held Friday in Trenton, Gov. Phil Murphy said that if all COVID measures continue to move in the right direction, education officials should still stay concentrated and be aware of any possible outbreak of the virus.

Use common sense on mask mandates

Murphy told them to “use your judgment, use your common sense, and be prepared for the fact that there might be a wrong turn.”

The governor emphasized that even as the pandemic continues to subside, COVID outbreaks can occur in different areas, “that’s why we’ve given them, the districts, the flexibility.”

We don’t know what we don’t know

Murphy stressed that it’s important that school officials and everyone in the state have “the will to accept that we don’t know everything we don’t know about this thing and we’ll try to navigate it. together”.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said her message to education officials was “be vigilant, resilient, pay attention to communications and recommendations from the Department of Health and stay in close contact with your local health department “.

She also noted that everyone needs to remember “it is likely that we will continue to have increases in COVID-19 activity, so it will be important that we all continue to be aware of activity levels and to adjust our behavior accordingly.

The governor said that even though cases and hospitalizations are going down and the mask mandate is lifted, that doesn’t mean COVID is gone.

“We think we can live responsibly with COVID, but being endemic means it stays with us,” he said.

The war on COVID is not over

Dr. Ed Lifshitz, director of communicable disease services for the New Jersey Department of Health, said just because the mask mandate is lifted on Monday doesn’t mean we’re putting up a sign saying the mission is accomplished and the virus is gone and it’s not going to cause us any trouble or trouble down the road.

Murphy announced a month ago that based on the dramatic decline in omicron cases and hospitalizations, the school mask mandate would end on March 7.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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