Source: TapInto New Jersey
There was a rally at a Middlesex County elementary school Friday morning consisting of about 150 protesters who were voicing their opposition to Governor Phil Murphy’s latest statewide requirement for students to be masked when they return to school this year.
Protestors wearing a variety of shirts with slogans that included “My Child, My Choice,”Unmask Our Kids,”Mask Use is Child Abuse,” and “Murphy and NJEA – Awful Together” shouted over bullhorns their complaints against the mandate, which had been released prior to Friday’s official announcement.
Murphy made his announcement that, due to the rise in cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, New Jersey’s K-12 schools will require masks and social distancing for students, teachers, employees and visitors as the 2021/22 school year begins.
The Governor signed Executive Order (EO) 251, which will mandate masking in the indoor premises of all public, private, and parochial preschool, elementary, and secondary school buildings, with limited exceptions. The mandate goes into effect this Monday, Aug. 9. Representatives of the state’s medical and educational communities joined the Governor in their support of the mandate, citing science and a focus on student welfare.
“We understand that students learn best in a classroom setting, and remain committed to having our schools open for full-time, in-person instruction this fall,” Murphy said. “While this announcement gives us no pleasure, I know that by taking this precaution we can keep our schools open while also keeping our children safe. We will continue to closely monitor the science and data and will lift this mandate when we can do so safely. I urge those who are eligible for vaccination but have yet to be vaccinated to act and help move our state in the right direction.”
Earlier this summer, Murphy had said students in New Jersey schools would not be required to wear masks inside unless their district mandates it for the 2021-22 academic year. Friday’s announcement was a reversal of his earlier statement on masking kids.
“Health and safety is above politics” he said Friday. “Anyone who says something else is lying. I want to see those children’s smiles, too, but I do not want to see them ill. It is not about if we will have an outbreak, but when.
“Remote learning is no replacement for the bond between teachers and students, students and their peers,” said Murphy, who indicated he and his family will be in Italy for a vacation next week.
Outside of Memorial School in East Brunswick, many young children in the crowd protested the decision to use what Murphy described as “incremental layering” to fight the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.
“This is not permanent,” the Governor claimed.