Mask mandate returns for kids in Montclair, NJ, and other districts, as COVID cases rise
Mask mandates are being extended and reimplemented in a growing number of New Jersey school districts as the number of new COVID cases rise.
Montclair High School students are being told to mask-up again starting today, and for the next 10 days, due to a spike in COVID cases in the school.
Essex County is one of eight New Jersey counties that has moved from "low" to "medium" community transmission levels.
An email from Montclair schools Superintendent Jonathan Ponds, obtained by NorthJersey.com, cited 24 new positive COVID cases among the school population as the reason he was imposing a new mask mandate. The email did not break down the infections among students and staff.
COVID cases have been rising statewide for weeks.
It's been nearly two months since Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the controversial statewide school mask mandate on March 7, but some districts never dropped the requirement.
The Newark School District was to lift the mask mandate this week but it will be continued until further notice.
A banner on the district website reads: "Masks are required at all times when entering district facilities, locations, and properties."
When Murphy announced an end to the statewide mandate, he allowed districts to make their own call, and Newark was among the first to announce they would continue to require face coverings at all times.
The president of the Newark teachers' union told NJ.com he did not know when the mask mandate would be lifted.
East Orange and Paterson school officials also extended their mask mandates.
On May 9, East Orange is scheduled to lift its mandate. In a letter to parents, Schools Superintendent Abdul Saleem Hasan wrote, "Effective May 9, students, staff, and visitors will no longer be required to wear face coverings or masks in school buildings or on school buses."
No date has been given by the Paterson School District, although discussions have been held about lifting the mandate two weeks after spring break, which ended May 2.