New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will end a statewide mask mandate to protect against COVID-19 in schools and child care centers, his office said Monday.
The requirement goes into effect March 7 and comes as New Jersey’s caseload drops after an spike around the holidays fueled by the omicron variant.
The governor is expected to announce the development at a news conference Monday when he is set to also answer questions. It’s not clear, for example, if individual school districts could continue to require a mandate.
New Jersey was one of just a dozen states with mask mandates in schools, according to the nonpartisan National Academy for State Health Policy.
The mandate has been in place since school resumed in person in September 2020, with Murphy renewing it before the start of the current school year and as recently as January. At the time, he didn’t specify how much longer the requirement could be in place.
He faced pressure from Republicans and some parents who have held rallies at the statehouse in support of rescinding the requirement. But the governor has had support from the influential New Jersey Education Association, the state’s biggest teachers union. A message seeking comment was left with the union.
News that Murphy would end the mandate was first reported by The New York Times.