Today–most likely this afternoon in East Brunswick— Gov. Phil Murphy will announce that everyone must wear masks in K-12 schools. This is a change from his previous stance when he “strongly recommended” masks in indoor settings with high transmission rates but left the in-school decision to individual districts while disallowing remote instruction.
Just last week Murphy said he didn’t want to impose a mask mandate in schools: “I don’t want to go backward — that’s the last thing I want to do — but we’ll do what we have to do,” Murphy said July 22d.
But he was under pressure from from leaders of the New Jersey Education Association and from the NJ Association of School Administrators to issue an in-school mask mandate instead of leaving the matter —and the political fallout—to individual districts.
This decision comes just three months before the gubernatorial election and his GOP opponent, Jack Ciattarelli, opposes mask mandates. Parents will have mixed reactions, depending on how they feel about their children wearing masks. It is unclear how schools will manage lunch periods.
Some school districts had already ordered indoor mask mandates.