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TRENTON, NJ – The CDC has released new guidance that says Americans who are not showing signs of illness no longer need to wear face masks, but Governor Phil Murphy continues to enforce a school mask mandate for at least the next week.

Pennachio issued the following statement today:

Senator Joe Pennacchio said Governor Phil Murphy should lift his school mask mandate immediately to align New Jersey with new guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The CDC is no longer recommending that masks be worn anywhere in New Jersey under new guidance that takes into account local community data,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “If Governor Murphy were truly basing his COVID-19 policies on science, he would follow the CDC’s recommendation and lift the mask mandate today for New Jersey schools and everywhere else.”

On Friday, the CDC replaced recommendations that masks be worn in all schools nationwide with new guidance that accounts for local conditions in each county.

Under the updated guidance, the CDC now recommends that masking in indoor locations, including schools, be limited to counties experiencing a “High” level of COVID-19.

The CDC also announced that masks on school buses are no longer required.

“When the latest data clearly shows that the threat no longer exists, there’s no reason for Governor Murphy to to wait until March 7 to lift his school mask mandate,” said Pennacchio. “He also should reconsider his plan to allow local districts to maintain mask mandates that conflict with CDC recommendations. Some districts say they’ll keep local mask mandates in effect until April. That’s makes absolutely no sense and isn’t supported by science or data. It’s unnecessarily harmful to kids and shouldn’t be allowed.”

Pennacchio said he recognized that some parents and teachers will continue to have concerns despite the latest guidance, and said they should be allowed to make personal decisions on masking for themselves and their families.

“It’s sad that some people have been conditioned by all of the fear-mongering to never feel safe without a mask regardless of how low the numbers go or what the experts recommend,” added Pennacchio. “While we should respect the personal decisions of those who want to continue masking, their fears shouldn’t be forced upon everyone else, especially our children. It’s time to end all school mask mandates and give back parental rights.”

Portions of this article were taken from a statement issued by Joe Pennachio.