Testa Says Parents Should Choose Whether or Not to Mask Schoolchildren, Not School Board or Phil Murphy

3 mins read

TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Senator Michael Testa said the option to mask children in New Jersey’s public schools should be left up to the parents, not elected officials such as local school board members or Governor Phil Murphy.

As COVID-19 cases slightly rise, deaths and hospitalizations have remained at pandemic lows during the latest outbreak of a mild omicron strain. While hospitalizations have risen slightly, the number of serious cases requiring ventilators and deaths have not. The CDC data suggests New Jersey may have hit the peak of the latest wave of COVID-19 as predicted last week by the governor.

Now, Senator Michael Testa said he will introduce legislation to allow parents to create a path to choose a different school district if their home district unilaterally adopts a mask policy for students.

Over the weekend, the Franklin Township school district in Somerset County announced via a pop up on their website that a mandatory masking policy would be reintroduced today, Testa’s office reported Monday.

“Sadly, we expected school bureaucrats to once again push their power over students and their parents with renewed masking mandates,” said Testa (R-1). “This bill gives parents the ability to fight back and the power to ensure their children are not forced to mask up.”

“Under the bill parents could create an educational savings account which could then be used to allow their schoolchildren to attend a school in a district that does not mandate masks on students. The costs of creating those accounts would be borne by the school district which imposed the mask mandate,” Testa said in press release. “The effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of COVID in schoolchildren has been questioned by scientists around the globe since the very beginning of the pandemic.  A 2021 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) covered more than 90,000 elementary-school students in 169 Georgia schools and found that forcing students to wear masks “lacks a well-grounded scientific justification.”

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“Masks don’t seem to affect medical outcomes and serve only to make some adults feel they are doing something to protect students. Kids shouldn’t suffer to make adults feel better. My bill restores parental control of local education,” Testa concluded.

The New Jersey Department of Health suggests residents should wear masks and Governor Phil Murphy last week declared that public school students should wear face masks, although at this time, he has no authority to impose a universal mandate. The CDC also suggests wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID.

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