More NJ schools impose mask mandates for 2023
School officials in Camden are citing a rise in COVID and other respiratory illnesses as the reason for imposing a district wide mask mandate when students and staff return to school following the Winter break.
"Upon returning, CCSD will implement a two-week mandatory masking policy through January 17, 2023, for all students, staff, and anyone entering our buildings," wrote Camden City School District Superintendent Katrina McCombs in a letter to parents.
"NJDOH has already reported an increase in COVID, flu, and RSV cases," McCombs said.
School officials termed it a "short mask mandate."
Camden is one of ten New Jersey Counties where COVID activity is listed as "high" according to state and federal tracking data.
Upon returning, CCSD will implement a two-week mandatory masking policy through January 17, 2023, for all students, staff, and anyone entering our buildings. NJDOH has already reported an increase in COVID, flu, and RSV cases. Therefore, in an effort to be proactive and remain vigilant, all schools and offices will operate under a short mask mandate upon reopening. - Katrina T. McCombs, Superintendent Camden City School District
Passaic Public Schools were the first New Jersey district to re-implement a mask mandate. Masks were required in all school buildings and on busses as of Wednesday, Dec. 21 and the policy will continue when students and staff return in January.
The Passaic mandate is open ended and will only end when COVID transmission rates drop from the current "high" levels reported in Passaic County.
Other districts, including Clinton Township in Hunterdon County, have urged parents to have their kids take a COVID test prior to returning to class. Clinton school officials are encouraging students to wear a mask, but have not made it a mandate.
Gov. Phil Murphy, for now, will leave masking and testing policies up to local districts. He reiterated this week that he does not envision a statewide mask mandate being imposed by the state. Murphy noted the number of new COVID cases being reported is less than half of what it was at this time last year.
That's the same this he said earlier this month, but he also said he reserves the right to change his mind.
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