MARLBORO – The members of the Marlboro K-8 School District Board of Education have followed through on a resolution they passed in January and on March 7, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, masks will become optional for all individuals in the district’s schools.
On Jan. 18, board members voted 9-0 to pass a resolution which stated that when Gov. Phil Murphy ended a directive which required every child in New Jersey to wear a mask in school during the ongoing pandemic, they would support giving parents the choice to determine if their child would continue to wear a mask in school.
On Feb. 7, noting the significant decline of statewide COVID-19 metrics, Murphy announced that masks and facial coverings will no longer be mandated for students, staff members or visitors in schools and childcare centers effective March 7.
“Thankfully, we have reached a point where we feel confident we can take another step toward normalcy for our kids. Given the continued drop in new cases and hospitalizations, projections indicating a continued decline over the coming weeks, and the continued growth of vaccinations for our school-age population, we believe we can responsibly end the universal mask mandate,” Murphy was quoted as saying in a press release.
During a board meeting on Feb. 8, Marlboro Superintendent of Schools Eric Hibbs informed board members and the public about Murphy’s announcement the previous day and said that as of March 7, “we are going to allow for parent choice” regarding masks.
Hibbs said parents will retain the right to have their child wear a mask in school after March 7 and added, “We will not let anyone talk about masks in a negative way.”
During a presentation regarding changes in the district’s quarantine policy, Hibbs said, “Our goal is to get back to normal as soon as possible.”
He said he anticipates seeing children test positive for the virus through the end of the current school year.
The superintendent said parents who have questions regarding the district’s COVID policies may contact their child’s school nurse.
In announcing the lifting of the mask mandate, Murphy said school district administrators and the operators of childcare facilities can choose to continue to implement universal masking policies after the mandate is lifted in March.
Schools that do not impose universal masking should revise their COVID policies to use masking among other prevention strategies under certain circumstances, according to the press release.
Schools will not be permitted to prohibit the use of facial coverings by individuals, according to the press release.
Prior to the mandate being lifted, the New Jersey Department of Health will release guidance to help school districts update their policies to align with the risks and unique needs of their setting and student population to ensure safe learning environments, according to the press release.