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East Windsor school district to decide on face mask policy

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East Windsor Regional School District officials expect to decide soon whether to drop the in-classroom mask mandates for students or to continue it beyond March 7, the date that Gov. Phil Murphy announced the statewide mandate would be lifted.

Murphy announced Feb. 7 that masks or facial coverings would not be required for students, staff or visitors to schools and childcare facilities, pointing to the statewide drop in COVID-19 cases.

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The East Windsor Regional School District reported three new cases of COVID-19 among students for the week of Feb. 7, and two new cases among staff.

Since Sept. 9, 2021, there have been 177 cases among students and 120 cases among staff.

The school district’s COVID-19 dashboard tracks cases of illness among students who attended school in-person or who participated in extracurricular activities, and staff who worked on campus.

If a school district drops the mask mandate, students will have the option to wear a face mask. However, all students who ride a bus to school must wear a face mask because of federal masking regulations.

Superintendent of Schools Mark Daniels said the governor’s announcement “provides us with a sense of cautious optimism for the months ahead.”

But there are still some details that need to be worked out before the school district decides on its course of action after March 7, Daniels said.

School district officials are waiting for updated guidance from the state Department of Education and the state Department of Health regarding potential revisions to distancing, close contacts and recommendations for individuals returning to school after isolation or quarantine, he said.

“Since we have approximately one month to prepare, we need to review enough information to ensure we are making thoughtful decisions and recommendations (on masking),” Daniels said.

School district officials will monitor local health data and review updated guidance from the state Department of Education and the state Department of Health, and let the East Windsor Regional School District community know about its decision before March 7, Daniels said.

 

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