“This is not an announcement that gives any of us or me personally any pleasure,” Gov. Phil Murphy told supporters inside an East Brunswick elementary school Friday when announcing that — regardless of their vaccination status — students and staff across New Jersey will have to mask up when K-12 classes resume in the fall. Superintendents will have leeway to make some exemptions.
Anti-mask protesters shouted their opposition and brandished signs outside.
The mask mandate brings New Jersey into line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s a controversial policy reversal Murphy had hoped to avoid when last month he declared school districts could set their own mask agendas. The mandate is supported by several education associations including the NJEA teachers union, and state associations representing school boards, school nurses and administrators.