School Mask Mandate to Be Lifted in New Jersey

New Jersey’s policy shift is based on the state’s precipitous drop in new cases and the declining severity of the disease, as well as a request Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, made last week to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a vaccine for children younger than 5, aides to Mr. Murphy said.

Mr. Murphy, in an interview on Sunday, also said that the implementation was deliberately timed for March, when temperatures will begin to climb, giving schools additional ventilation options. Many schools have kept windows open all winter to improve air flow.

The governor has frequently noted that requiring students and staff members to wear masks all day was never intended to be a permanent solution.

Removing them, Mr. Murphy said, is a “huge step toward normalcy.”

In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said the end to masking in schools and day care centers had been made possible by a decline in virus cases and the state’s high vaccination rate.

“I think this is something we’ve earned, Connecticut,” Mr. Lamont said Monday afternoon.

In New York State, where a school mask mandate is set to expire on Feb. 21, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was meeting Tuesday with superintendents and analyzing key data, noting that just weeks ago hospitals were understaffed and overwhelmed.

“I am optimistic that we’re trending in that direction,” she said Monday when asked about lifting the state’s school mask mandate, “but I still need the time.”

Dr. Bernard F. Bragen Jr., the superintendent of schools in Edison, N.J., one of the state’s largest suburban districts, said he expected to drop the mask requirement, while creating an environment that makes students who choose to wear masks comfortable.

The Tycoon Herald