Starting Friday mask mandates will be lifted in most indoor locations throughout New Jersey, but children will still be required to wear masks at summer camps and schools.

And as things stand right now masks for younger students will still be required when the new school year begins next September.

With a growing number of parent groups questioning the masking requirement for kids, Gov. Phi Murphy addressed the issue during the COVID update on Wednesday in Trenton.

He said the start of the new school year is still 3 and a half months away but “we’re likely to be masked for the simple reason that we only a couple of weeks ago have been able to get 12 to 15-year-olds vaccinated, there’s no vaccine yet that’s approved for under the age of 12.”

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He said the expectation is that vaccines will at some point be approved for younger children there is no timetable yet.

“We know, thank God, that we’ve lost very few precious young lives but we also know that doesn’t mean that the young folks have not been able to transmit this," Murphy said. “We will get to the place that parents want to get to, that I, that we all want to get to. We’re just not there yet.”

Murphy said masking for kids at summer camps is needed for the same reasons, but New Jersey COVID medical advisor Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, a former state epidemiologist, pointed out “we may see some new guidance for camps from the federal level, and I would say that might impact on what we say for camps in New Jersey.”

He said when we’re talking about younger kids at camp, “they’re not vaccinated and there’s mixing of those kids and they’re coming from different areas and so there may be some exposure, they can bring it home as well.”

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