Politics

Governors in four states announce end to school mask mandates by end of the month

According to announcements made on Monday, the governors of four states will be lifting their statewide mask requirements in schools by the end of February or March.

The governors cited the fact that the surge in coronavirus cases driven by the omicron variant has substantially decreased. 

The decisions came in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and Oregon and were announced as all state and local governments have been trying to determine which virus restrictions to cut and which to keep. The changes were also made as Americans have been increasingly coming to the understanding that the virus is likely something that will never completely go away.

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the move is “a huge step back to normalcy for our kids,” adding that individual school districts can decide whether to continue requiring masks after the statewide mandate ends on March 7.

California, the nation’s most populous state, also announced plans to end its indoor masking requirement for vaccinated patrons next week, but masks will still be mandated for schoolchildren in the state.

The four states that are ditching their mask rules in schools are among a dozen that still have the requirement in place according to the National Academy for State Health Policy, which is a nonpartisan organization. New Jersey has had the requirement in place since classes began in person in September 2020.

Murphy said the “dramatic decline in our COVID numbers” was the reason for deciding in favor of the rollback. “We are not – and I’ve said this many times – going to manage COVID to zero,” the governor noted. “We have to learn how to live with COVID as we move from a pandemic to an endemic phase of the virus.” 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: ABC NEWS

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