New Jersey kids will have to mask up in Garden State classrooms for the upcoming school year.
Gov. Phil Murphy is planning to announce the K-12 mandate Friday, an administration official confirmed to The Post.
The move comes amid soaring cases of the coronavirus nationwide, due in large part to the more contagious Delta variant. Children under 12 are still not eligible to get the vaccinations that protect against the virus.
The governor hadn’t been planning to issue a statewide mandate as of June, although he was in favor of returning to full in-person instruction, according to NJ.com.
Every county in New Jersey had a high or substantial transmission level, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures. Under new CDC guidelines, residents in all counties except Warren County should wear face masks indoors – regardless of vaccination status.
The CDC has four categories of transmission level, based on new cases per 100,000 of population or a high number of positive tests. Fifty or more per 100,000 means a designation of substantial.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will institute a mask mandate in schools in response to the emergence of COVID-19’s Delta variant. Anne-Marie Caruso/The Record via AP, Pool
Murphy, a Democrat, was confronted by anti-vaccination protesters at an event on Wednesday and told them they’d lost their minds.
“You are the ultimate knuckleheads and because of what you are saying and standing for people are losing their lives.
“People are losing their lives and you have to know that,” he told the sign-waving group. “Look in the mirror. Look in the mirror.”
The fight over masks in schools has been a national debate point, and US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Thursday that states looking to ban masks to get “in the way” of a full reopening of in-person teaching.
Students line up to enter Christa McAuliffe School in Jersey City, NJ on April 29, 2021. AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File
Texas and Florida have banned masks in schools, though that didn’t stop some schools from adopting mask requirements.