Governor demands masks in schools
TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy has announced that all schools will resume wearing masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus in September.
During one of his COVID-19 press conferences, he said a number of factors led to this decision. First of all, the fact that children under 12 cannot be vaccinated. Second, too many older children and adults have not been vaccinated either. And third, that other schools that have already opened in other states have seen the “creeping” spread of the disease.
“All students, staff and visitors will be required to wear masks regardless of their immunization status,” he said.
However, schools will continue to be full time in person. He said there had been too many losses over the past year with children who were at home, unable to learn from a teacher in the same room.
Without the mask’s mandate, the numbers would rise and schools may have to close, he said. Therefore, masking was the best option.
“Anyone who tells you that we can safely reopen schools without wearing masks is just lying to you,” he said, attacking disinformation and political campaigns that spread lies.
“It’s not permanent,” he said. Hopefully the numbers will become secure enough to show that the restrictions can be relaxed without causing a backtracking.
He stressed that children can remove their masks if they have a disability that would make it difficult, if they do intense physical exercises in a gym or if the rooms are not air conditioned and they become very hot.
The Delta variant, which has made the rounds, has been found to be more contagious than the normal strain of the virus, according to medical professionals.
Of those admitted to hospital last week for COVID-19, 80% were not vaccinated, he said. Of those who died from COVID-19 in the past week, 100% were not vaccinated.
“Anyone who deliberately ignores this is putting themselves and their communities at risk,” he said.
One of the guest speakers at the press conference was Dr. Jeanne Craft, president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She said that even though children are less affected by the virus, that doesn’t mean they aren’t affected.
Since the start of the pandemic, New Jersey has lost seven children to the virus. “That number may seem low, but it means seven families who will not see their child grow up.”