Governor Phil Murphy has lifted the mask mandate for schools and left the decision to mask up in the hands of individual districts across the state, both public and private.

Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels

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The Catholic Diocese of Trenton has lifted the mask mandate for schools across Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Mercer Counties and will leave masking up as optional for students, staff, administration and other employees come the fall, according to an announcement Superintendent Dr. Vincent De Paul Schmidt made on Wednesday in the Trenton Monitor, the Diocese's official online news website.

“Masks on employed adults are optional. This includes teaching staffs, members of administration and non-contact employees. Masks on children are optional as well.  If a parent deems a mask is significant to the safety of their respective child(ren) they are encouraged to have their child(ren) wear a mask within the school.”

Governor Murphy has left the door open and has executive power to do so in bringing back the mask mandate for all schools come the fall if Covid trends keep going back up.

As of Friday morning in New Jersey, the rate of transmission is about 0.97.

Although with Governor Murphy's announcement this week lifting the mask mandate, acting Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan said that masks still have to be worn on school busses.

Dr. Schmidt with the Diocese of Trenton is also asking parents, students and staff to keep the possibility of a mask mandate in the back of their minds as well.

“If a health situation, as determined by the local health department/authorities, arises for which the wearing of a mask is deemed essential for the school population or its employees to safely and effectively be engaged within the school community, then the wearing of a mask will be reintroduced," Dr. Schmidt said in a statement, per the Trenton Monitor.

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