Some parents are upset about NJ’s school mask mandate. News 12 dispels some myths

Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Friday that K-12 students, faculty and staff must wear masks once school resumes in September.

News 12 Staff

Aug 7, 2021, 2:06 AM

Updated 981 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Friday that K-12 students, faculty and staff must wear masks once school resumes in September.
The mandate follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatricians. It also comes as New Jersey experiences a surge in positive COVID-19 cases.
“Due to the recent and rampant spread of the delta variant, the fact that no child under the age of 12 is yet eligible to be vaccinated, and the reality that too many older students and their parents remain unvaccinated,” Murphy said.
But some parents and guardians have been outspoken about their concerns about children being asked to wear masks throughout the school day. One of those concerns is the psychological impact the practice could possibly have.
Just the act of asking our children to mask up for school, will not inherently mess our kids up psychologically. That is a myth,” says Dr. Joe Galasso, a clinical psychologist at Baker Street Behavioral Health.
Galasso references the resiliency in children and the need for structure and says that there are ways to tackle the conversation about mask-wearing with kids so they're not confused.
“The confusion is what causes the anxiety. I’m being told I need to do this and then I’m being told not to do this,” he says.
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Galasso says at his practice the biggest concern from young people, is the social aspect of the pandemic, or lack thereof.
“Developmentally, it's about connection. They just want to get back to regular life. ‘How do I just get back to my friends?’” Galasso says.
Other parents say they are concerned about the long-term or short-term negative effects wearing masks will have on the children.
“There's no evidence that's shown that wearing a face mask of any sort is going to cause any sort of long-term impact on lung tissue or cause some sort of side effect. If anything, it is going to protect that youth and teachers alike from respiratory droplets that lead to contracting coronavirus,” says emergency room physician Dr. Sampson Davis. “Right now, we’re seeing this delta variant not only impact those who’ve been vaccinated, but it’s also making a huge dent in the younger population.”
The New Jersey Education Association put out a statement in support of the governor's decision, saying in part: "It is the prudent, responsible course of action in the face of the resurgence of COVID- 19 across the state."
The governor has said that all classes will be in-person for the upcoming school year. Parents will not have the option for virtual learning.
Exceptions to the mask mandate include if the person has a documented medical condition, when students are participating in high-intensity physical activities, or when the weather reaches intense temperatures.


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