Murphy Says Kids Will Have to Wear Face Masks When and If they Return to School This School Year

TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy said today when students return to school, if they do during the current school year, they will have to wear face masks in class.

“We are not going to open our schools back up until we are convinced by the science and medical professionals that doing so would be safe for students, for staff, and by the way, for their families,” the Governor said.  “And even when we get to the point that we believe a reopening is safe and prudent — and we will get there, by the way — we will not hesitate to require additional protection. Things like requiring face coverings, or certain configurations of classrooms, if we believe that by doing so, we will make our schools even safer.”

That might not be a good solution according to medical experts.

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Prior to the COVID-19 epidemic, the New York Department of Health issued a warning regarding the use of facemasks for the flu, “Facemasks will do little to reduce the spread of flu unless they are used properly and by the people who really need them. If you must take care of someone with the flu, and are at high risk of serious illness if you get sick, you should wear a mask. A better choice, if at all possible, is to have someone else be the designated caregiver. If you have the flu and must be around other people, you should wear a facemask.”

“Anyone who does not have a respiratory illness, meaning a cough or sneezing, should not be wearing any type of mask, whether a surgical mask or a respirator.” said Dr. David Eisenman, a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at UCLA.

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Murphy said the return to school will not be rushed and with a mid-May return now in the pipeline, it’s not sounding like we’re going to his that date, according to Murphy.

“I understand the concern being felt by so many parents about what their kids are missing by having schools closed. Believe me, we’re living it as well, especially the parents of older students who were looking forward to sports seasons, or proms, or graduations. We get it, but we cannot rush this,” he said. “We just cannot do that. My number one job is the health and safety of our state, every single one of us. And as I said yesterday, public health leads everything. Public Health creates economic health. Public health creates educational health. On those principles, I cannot and will not equivocate.”

Many months of sacrifice lie ahead

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“One of my childhood idols was President John F. Kennedy. In just three short years as President, he inspired a nation to look within and to channel our strength for the common good. I was struck recently reading in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he addressed the nation with the following words, and I quote the President: “Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead; months in which our patience and our will, will be tested,” Murphy said. “But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.” Now we are now nearly one full month into our strongest social distancing measures. There are still at least weeks to go and even when we begin to reopen, it’s not going to be all at once and things are not going to just pop back to as they were.”