JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ – The Jackson Township School District today announced that as of June 9th, mask wearing in the district will be optional. This decision comes one day after Governor Phil Murphy warned about the possible dangers to children while wearing masks on hot days. The Jackson School District is among the first districts in the state to drop the mask mandate.
“Phil Murphy announced yesterday afternoon via Twitter that school officials have the authority to relax masking requirements during times of extreme heat. This tweet was not aligned to previous executive orders and did not come with clear parameters, leaving district leaders to make interpretations on our own,” the district said.
“It is hot today, and above average temperatures and humid conditions are forecast for at least the next couple of days. Pat, I think you’ve got to talk a little bit about the potential for some severe thunderstorms later. As a reminder to all school officials, our current masking requirements do include exceptions for cases of extreme heat in outdoor settings and for situations indoors or outdoors where wearing a mask would inhibit the individual’s health,” Murphy said on Monday. “School officials are empowered to relax masking among students and staff in their buildings given extreme weather conditions, and we hope they will make the right calls for their educational communities. On Friday, I was proud to sign legislation and an executive order that ended our public health emergency, another step to the relative position of normalcy. This legislation also ensures that we maintain the tools we need to continue our final assault on this virus and to end the pandemic.”
The Jackson School District said while many of their buildings are air conditioned, it is not enough to battle the intense hot weather, especially in hallways and on school buses.
“Although our schools are air-conditioned, there are areas in our classrooms, hallways and buses where extreme heat, humidity, and the sun’s position cause uncomfortable conditions,” the district said. “In light of yesterday’s announcement, and given the weather we expect during these last weeks of school, the Jackson School District will be relaxing our mask requirements for students and staff.”
Effective tomorrow, June 9, 2021 and for the remainder of the school year, masks will be OPTIONAL for all students and staff both indoors and outdoors.
“We are making it effective June 9 to allow parents to discuss this development with their children and decide as a family under what circumstances a parent may want their child to wear a mask in school,” the district said. “We will continue to act upon information as it becomes available and provide our school community with updates as appropriate. We hope that moving forward, the state will provide clear guidance and that school officials receive updates in advance of Twitter so that we may process, act upon, and inform you about new developments in a timely manner.”
Hirsh Singh, a candidate for Governor in today’s primary election said the decision by the Jackson School Board is a commendable scientifically correct one that other districts should now follow.
“I want to commend the school board and administration in Jackson Township for their correct decision to unmask our children today,” Singh said. “If I am elected today, I will make sure we unmask all of our children and students in the entire state.”