TRENTON, NJ – After saying the decision is up to local school boards, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy will announce a mandatory mask mandate for New Jersey public school students on Friday.
The announcement has been leaked by high-level aides to the governor to multiple media sources today. The new mandate would have children both vaccinated and unvaccinated wearing masks for a full school day, including lunch periods.
Murphy’s team said the governor will be making a major public health announcement tomorrow at an undisclosed East Brunswick Elementary School
Although Governor Murphy’s emergency powers have expired, the New Jersey legislature, by law has returned the governor his pandemic powers after the state’s rate of transmission crept above 1 in late July.
Murphy’s announcement comes on the heels of the CDC guidance that advises all students, K-12 regardless of vaccination status should wear face masks in school in September.
“We can turn on a dime,” Murphy said last week about a possible decision to supersede local school board authority on the decision to force children to wear masks for prolonged periods of time. The White House today suggested that as many as 90% of America’s school teachers have been vaccinated, but health officials are worried that unvaccinated children can still pass the virus on to vaccinated teachers and family members.
Murphy is running for his second term in office and this decision could impact the election for his opponent Jack Ciattarelli who is pushing a parental choice platform for masking up in public schools.
“Murphy wants to keep masks on our K-12 students in September. What’s wrong with this guy? Let King Murphy know you’re ready to move forward and unmask our kids NOW,” Ciattarelli said during the 2020-21 school year.
One former candidate for Governor, Hirsh Singh said keeping children masked all day at school is equal to child abuse.
“The mask mandate in schools is child abuse. It is literally child abuse,” Singh said. “These kids are getting abused with the way these mask mandates are forcing our kids running around, they’re getting mud, food, dirt, in their masks…it’s a petri dish. We’re asking kids breath through that instead of breathing clean air.”
Due to the rise in the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, the CDC now recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
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