Mask mandate returns to Paterson School District amid high number of COVID-19, flu and RSV cases

Paterson schools Superintendent Eileen Shafer says she knew there would be pushback over implementing a mask mandate, but she says it was needed to keep kids in school.

News 12 Staff

Jan 3, 2023, 5:19 PM

Updated 566 days ago

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Students returned to school in Paterson Tuesday, but one thing was different - everyone had to wear a mask.
Paterson schools Superintendent Eileen Shafer said she knew there would be pushback over implementing a mask mandate, but she said it was needed to keep kids in school.
The decision to mask up was made due to the rising numbers of COVID-19, flu and RSV throughout Passaic County.
Shafer saw the numbers -- 39 newly reported cases in schools before the holiday break and three reported on Tuesday.
Over the last four days, the COVID-19 cases in Passaic County jumped from 166 to 208.
Flu cases are also on the rise.
“Our children deserve to be safe and deserve to be in a classroom,” Shafer added.
Shafer, who has the support of City Hall and the Health Department, is telling parents who don’t agree that there is no remote option.
"I'm going to keep the kids in school for in-person instruction. They were out long enough, remote cannot even come close to a live teacher in a classroom in front of a class of children."
The head of the city Health Department says not as many people are getting vaccinated for the flu or COVID-19, so the city is again driving its mobile clinic into neighborhoods to provide testing and vaccination.
“The pandemic is not over,” said Mayor Andre Sayegh. “We are reimplementing testing and vaccination on demand in the city of Paterson.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 counties in New Jersey have high levels of COVID-19 cases.
The Passaic and Camden school districts have also decided to mandate masking, which will be in place for two weeks.
Paterson will keep the masks until the number of COVID-19 cases goes down.


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