NJ State School Mask Mandate to End March 7th, Final Decision Made by School Districts
Governor Phil Murphy announced on social media this morning that the statewide mask mandate in schools will be lifted on March 7th stating that “balancing public health with getting back to some semblance of normalcy is not easy." He said the state can take this step due to declining COVID numbers and increase in vaccinations.
During this afternoon’s Covid-19 briefing Murphy explained the factors leading to this decision including the significant drop of overall rates of infection among students and staff over the last month. Overall there has been a low rate of in-school transmission since September, with only about 2,650 students out of more than 1.4 million students linked directly to in-school transmission.
Murphy also pointed to NJ’s high rate of vaccination, as one of only six other states to have more than 90% of eligible residents with a first dose of the vaccine. He stressed that the expectation is not to manage Covid-19 cases to zero but to “…learn how to live with COVID as we move from a pandemic to an endemic phase of this virus.”
He sighted the timing of early March as due to the spring’s warmer weather which will help schools increase ventilation when necessary. However, he indicated school districts and daycares will ultimately have the final decision whether or not to require masks.