Parents question practicality of having children wear masks in school

Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled the state’s guidelines for having students return to the classroom in September during the COVID-19 pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Jun 27, 2020, 2:26 AM

Updated 1,385 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled the state’s guidelines for having students return to the classroom in September during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the guidelines was mandatory masks for faculty and visitors. The students won’t be required to wear face coverings. But it will be highly encouraged – especially for times when social distancing will be difficult, such as on the school bus or in the hallways.
But some parents reacted negatively to the plan. Multiple comments made on the News 12 New Jersey Facebook page questioned how schools would enforce a mask rule or questioned if it was healthy for students to wear masks for multiple hours in schools that may not have air conditioning.
Pediatrician Dr. Amna Husain says that wearing masks can be beneficial for the students.
“It’s not about protecting yourself, its actually about protecting others,” she says. “While we know that luckily children aren’t as likely to have high-risk complications when they contract COVID-19, we know that they could end up taking that home and possibly giving or transmitting it to grandma or grandpa or possibly a teacher who might be in the high-risk category.”
Students or faculty whose health would be inhibited by wearing a mask will be exempt from wearing them.
Hamilton Township School District Superintendent Dr. Scott Rocco says that they will need parents to help reinforce the guidelines.
“If we’re saying a mask must be worn at this time, please work with us and work with your child to help them understand that this is important,” he says.
And for those who have concerns, Jesse Young of the New Jersey Department of Education says that the new guidance is not a “one size fits all” approach.
“We encourage our schools and districts to work with families in the reopening planning process to see how the different needs of different groups of students can be met,” Young says. “We as a department are still committed to working with districts on addressing what other challenges and questions may arise.
Young says this this the beginning of the reopening planning and that more information will be coming before the school year begins.
New Jersey’s colleges and universities reopening plans will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Schools must submit their reopening plans to the governor’s office.
More information about the reopening plans can be found on the state’s website.


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