NJ mask mandate in schools to end March 7

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says he will lift the state’s school and childcare mask mandates on March 7.

"Because of the dramatic decline in our COVID numbers, effective Monday, March 7 the statewide school mask mandate will be lifted," said Murphy. "Additionally, we will lift the statewide mask mandate in all childcare settings."

The change will come as temperatures get milder and ventilation through open windows becomes possible.

The public health emergency would be extended later this month for thirty days to allow for the mandate to be fulfilled.

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"In the coming weeks, the Department of Health, under Judy's leadership, will be updating its guidance to help school districts make the best decisions as to whether and when masks should be worn," said Murphy.

Individual districts could still require masks if mandates get lifted.

"I must thank the overwhelming majority of students, parents, administrators, educators, and support staffers who have worn their masks without problem or protest since our schools reopened for in-person learning," added Murphy.

The Democratic governors in New York and Connecticut have foreshadowed in recent days that they may lift school mask mandates, too. 

New Jersey has required masks in schools since September 2020 after reopening following a four-month lockdown.

COVID numbers continue to move in an encouraging direction. New York State reported a positivity rate on Saturday of 3.5 percent, the lowest since Omicron became a variant of concern.

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