Several Ocean County school districts call on Gov. Murphy to end mask mandate for students

Parents in school districts across New Jersey are calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to allow their children to start the new school year without having to wear masks.

News 12 Staff

May 27, 2021, 2:55 AM

Updated 1,055 days ago

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Parents in school districts across New Jersey are calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to allow their children to start the new school year without having to wear masks.
Several school districts in Ocean County are speaking up to end the practice. Toms River is the latest to join the push. School Board President Joe Nardini sent a letter to the governor.
"Our board and school district is not ‘anti-mask’ as a general matter of supposed principle. In fact, it's our community's adherence to health and safety measures which prompts this reasoned request,” Nardini wrote in the letter.
The letter went on to say, "The vast majority of our staff have been fully vaccinated, and the risk that COVID-19 poses to our student population - many of whom will also be vaccinated heading into next year - is extremely low.”
The effort was started by the superintendent of Central Regional High School, who sent a similar letter to the governor. And families in Point Pleasant held a rally this week for their children to ditch the masks.
“They get headaches. They felt dizzy. Most important is social interaction. Children are supposed to see other children smiling,” said parent Nicole Capoano.
Murphy responded to the call for going maskless at Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing. He said that at this moment, it would seem that students statewide will have to wear masks in September.
“My guess is we are likely to be masked for the simple reason that only a few weeks ago we have been able to get 12-15-year-olds vaccinated,” Murphy said.
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Children under 12 are currently not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Do I anticipate that we will get to a day at some point where we are not wearing masks? Yes. Do I want that to happen? Absolutely,” Murphy said.
As more students get vaccinated, Murphy left the door open to the possibility that high school students will be allowed to go maskless since they can get the vaccine right now.
Nardini says that parents who still want their children to wear masks in school are free to do so. He just doesn’t want it to be mandatory. He says that he is waiting for a formal response from the governor.


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