The Cranbury School District is switching to masks being optional at the school as the statewide mask mandate has been lifted.
Gov. Phil Murphy had 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 said the lift on the statewide mandate would occur because of a decrease across the state in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations from Omicron and the continued growth in vaccinations.
The Cranbury School, located at 23 N. Main St., is dropping required masks for students, staff, teachers and visitors after reviewing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New Jersey Department of Health guidance and consulting with the school’s physician.
“We remain committed to providing a safe, respectful,and inclusive environment for all students, staff and visitors. Cranbury School will continue to embrace a culture of kindness and compassion as we support individual mask wearing choices,” wrote Susan Genco, chief school administrator and principal, in a letter to parents on March 3.
Masks will not be required in the school building, on school grounds or the buses.
“Protections are embedded in the Cranbury Township Board of Education policies on Student Discipline (5600) and Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (5512) regarding a person’s choice to wear a mask,” she added.
Depending on large events that are school-wide a determination on whether masks are required or not will be made on an individual basis.
The administration is requiring masks be worn in the Health Office and if the COVID-19 risk level for community transmission is moderate the school may implement masking during settings with an increased risk of transmission.
“It remains possible that the district may need to reinstate a mandatory mask policy if outbreaks occur in our educational community or local and regional numbers of positive COVID-19 cases increase,” Genco wrote.
Genco outlined the certain situations where individuals will be required to wear a mask.
They include days 6-10 after testing positive for COVID-19, becoming sick at school and being sent home, for 10 days if exposed to a positive COVID-19 individual regardless of vaccination status, during periods of increased community transmission, and an active outbreak.
The administration is keeping in place social distancing protocols such as students being seated 3 feet apart from on another.
“Students will remain seated 6 feet apart in the designated lunch locations. This will be revisited following spring break,” Genco wrote.
Even though masks will no longer be required, contact tracing efforts remain and seating charts whether it be for classrooms, lunches or the bus are set to also continue.
Additionally, unvaccinated teachers will still be required to take part in weekly testing.
“Trips and after school activities will resume effective immediately given availability of transportation, bus drivers, nurses and staff coverage,” Genco added.
Regarding quarantine and isolation protocols, quarantines will occur for at least 5 days for those exposed to close contacts without any COVID-19 symptoms and who are not up-to-date with vaccinations, according to the administration.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status will also have to quarantine for at least five days.
According to the Cranbury School’s COVID-19 dashboard, the administration has reported only one positive case of COVID-19 among students and staff since Feb. 11. The one confirmed case was on March 5.