Masks will be required indoors for students, staff and visitors for the 2021-2022 school year in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday.
In Murphy’s executive order, masks are required to be worn indoors at all public, private, and parochial preschool, elementary, and secondary school buildings, with limited exceptions. The mandate is effective Aug. 9, 2021.
In the last few weeks, the American Academy of Pediatrics released guidance recommending all students over the age of two wear masks in school, regardless of their vaccination status. The Murphy administration initially left it for school districts to decide on mask mandates when students returned in the fall, but the delta variant of the coronavirus has changed those plans. New Jersey has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases mainly due to the highly transmissible delta variant. Children under the age of 12 are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, which makes them more susceptible to disease.
When students return for in-person learning, there will be exemptions for those who cannot wear a mask indoors. Those exemptions are: