Murphy says school mask mandates to be decided locally, disses protesters and warns mask shaming bullies of swift justice

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TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has announced today that he will officially end the school mask mandate next month and will extend the current COVID-19 public health emergency another 30 days.

The statewide school mask mandate will be lifted on Monday, March 7th, but left the door open to school districts to continue enforcing mask mandates at the local level.

“Masking continues to be an important tool to prevent the spread of COVID and should be used in many circumstances,” Murphy said.

Murphy said the decision to lift the mask mandates will be decided not by the state, but by the local school districts through guidance provided by Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli and the Department of Health.

Then, Murphy took a swipe at those who opposed his two-year-long mask mandate. The governor thanked those who stood tall as ‘role models’ for wearing masks without problem or protest.

“Day in and day out without problem or protest,” he added. “You truly represent our highest values of selflessness, community spirit, collective responsibility, looking out for others. You are the reason why we’re ready to take this step.”

Murphy then unleashed his caveat.

“We are not removing the ability of individual district leaders to maintain and enforce such a policy in their schools or any private child care environment,” the governor said. “Should community conditions require. Anyone who chooses to mask up indoors may continue to do so.”

Murphy also put school children on notice and called for swift justice should children bully or demean each other over another student’s mask-wearing decision.

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“We will not tolerate anyone being put down for exercising their choice to mask up,” he added.

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