Phil Murphy isn’t going to lift New Jersey’s school mask mandate anytime soon, here’s why

7 mins read

TRENTON, NJ – Last week, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy hinted he might lift his school mask mandate for preschools and K-12 students statewide by the end of the 2022 school year. Then, on Monday, Murphy explained why isn’t going to lift the school mask mandate, without specifically saying it.

This week, Murphy repeated his lip service to eventually lift the mandate, saying, “There’s no one number in terms of masking, but I want to get that lifted, trust me. This is not – I was asked, I think on Thursday or Friday, could I see the mask mandate getting lifted in this school year, not calendar year but school year. I said there is a real shot at that, and I would repeat that today.”

But, he’s not planning on it anytime soon, here’s why.

Simply, the reason is the governor doesn’t think enough K-12 students are being vaccinated…and now boosted. On top of that, Murphy described his fear of COVID-19 striking and killing children under the age of 5 who are not eligible to get vaccinated.

Murphy effectively changed the definition of fully vaccinated to be in line with the CDC’s new definition, meaning a person needs to be fully up to date on their initial vaccine regimen, plus boosted. And as more boosters come out, those benchmarks needed to unmask, which he has never revealed to the public will continue to be unattainable.

Murphy suggested those children in both categories are not safe from the COVID-19 virus and until that happens, he’s going to continue to force his public school mask mandate.

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As the omicron virus washes back out to sea and New Jersey’s infection rates and hospitalizations continue their rapid decline, New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli raised a new red flag for the administration…the children.

Now, Murphy and Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli are moving the goalposts once again, claiming New Jersey is not safe until everyone is vaccinated and boosted.

“I know people are wary of repeated pandemic messages, and yes, there is good news that cases and hospitalizations likely peaked two weeks ago and continue to decline, but the number of critically ill patients in our hospitals remains high, and there have been four COVID-associated child deaths including three infants since Christmas, and on Friday, we received six reports of new cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, the most reports we have ever received in a single day, and six of those children are currently hospitalized,” Persichilli reported.

Later, Persichilli, when pressed admitted that she wasn’t completely certain those deaths were COVID-19 related but could have been incidental deaths, where a child was in the hospital for another ailment and tested positive for COVID-19 upon entry, saying the children who died, “tested positive for COVID”.

“Of the four COVID-associated pediatric deaths, I have previously released information on a child under 10 in North Jersey who died of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome and an infant in south Jersey,” Persichilli said. “Today I’m reporting on two additional deaths of infants under 10 months of age who tested positive for COVID-19.”

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She did not specifically say the children died from COVID-19 in her prepared statement, calling them “COVID-associated” deaths.

Now, with booster shots available, Murphy and Persichilli are pushing the unboosted as another level of health safety risk for children under 5.

Murphy was checked by News 12 reported Alex Zdan, who asked if the sudden switch to sick children was a scare tactic.

“Are you bringing this up as a scare tactic to try to scare parents into vaccinating their children?” Zdan asked the governor.

“I don’t think it’s a scare. You’ve got kids, sadly, Judy, zero to four who are not eligible for vaccines, bless their hearts. We have, sadly – if you’ll give me one second here. We’ve lost eight precious kids in that range and they’re not – there’s no vaccine available for them. No, that’s not how we view it,” Murphy responded.

New Jersey typically suffers two to three child deaths each flu season. Now, with 8 deaths reported where children tested positive for COVID-19, Persichilli sounded the alarm.

“We’re seeing roughly three times that from Omicron. In the last two weeks to have that large number of children die, that’s much worse than we’ve ever seen in a flu season since we’ve been keeping record,” she said. “It is important, and it is particularly important, as the Governor said, because these young children, unfortunately, can’t be vaccinated. It really is important that those people around them who can be vaccinated get vaccinated. Yes, the great silver lining of this pandemic has always been that the kids have done generally well, but it’s that generally part. It’s not always well, and we still do need to protect them.”

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Backed by the New Jersey Education Association, Murphy’s school mask mandate isn’t going to go away when science tells us it should go away, but when the powerful union that controls the governor’s office gives the all-clear, and nationwide, the union would be ok with indefinitely masking children, including masking children in the post-COVID era.

To make matters worse for children, the CDC now says the cloth masks they are wearing now are not effective in stopping the transmission of COVID-19 and in some places in America, schools are now mandating children to wear highly restrictive N95 respirators. This week Los Angeles announced students will no longer be allowed to wear cloth masks and if history serves as an indicator, Governor Murphy and New Jersey won’t be far behind.

New Jersey, the school mask mandate isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Prove me wrong.