Cranbury School District officials are expected to announce a decision this week on dropping the mask mandate and shifting to masks being optional for students, staff and visitors as March 7 approaches, which is the date the statewide mandate will be lifted.
Administrators anticipated providing details to the school community later this week, according to information available by press time.
“The Cranbury School District team is in the process of reviewing the COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Local Health Departments for K-12 Schools as well as a joint presentation provided to us by the New Jersey Department of Health and New Jersey Department of Education on Feb. 25,” said Susan Genco, chief school administrator and Cranbury School principal. “A formal communication outlining the revised safety protocols will be sent out to the school community by the end of this week.”
Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Feb. 7 that masks or facial coverings would not be required for students, staff members or visitors to schools and childcare facilities.
He spotlighted a decrease across the state in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations from Omicron and the continued growth in vaccinations with the expectation that the vaccines will be made available to children under the age of 5 in early March.
“We are removing the statewide requirement that all students, educators, staff, and visitors wear masks while indoors, again effective March 7. We are not removing the ability of individual district leaders to maintain and enforce such a policy within their schools or any private childcare provider from maintaining such a policy within their business should community conditions require,” he said at his COVID-19 Briefing on Feb. 7.
“Likewise, any student, educator, or staff member, or visitor who chooses to continue masking up while indoors may freely do so, and we expect schools will take swift disciplinary action against those who may try to demean or bully anyone who chooses to wear a mask. We will not tolerate anyone being put down by exercising their choice to mask up,” Murphy said.
According to the Cranbury School’s COVID-19 dashboard, the school did not experience reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students and staff Feb. 11-27.