NJ COVID update: Paterson will keep mask requirement in schools, district buildings

COVID-19 Update for New Jersey
PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Paterson Public Schools in New Jersey will still require masks to be worn in schools and district buildings, but the use of partitions comes to an end on Thursday.

"The Board of Education has come to their decisions after long and careful consideration," said Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer. "They have considered the scientific data, the input from many stakeholders, and the latest guidance from public health officials. Everyone who enters schools and other buildings in our district will abide by the Board's carefully-made decisions on masks and partitions, and we will continue to take the other precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 virus including frequent handwashing, social distancing, temperature scanning, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home when sick."

The Board of Education says the decision was based on data gathered from multiple sources, including a consultation with the Paterson chief medical officer on recent COVID-19 conditions in the city.

Last month, a survey showed 63% of the people who took part wanted to continue the mask requirement for the district.

The same percentage favored discontinuing the use of the partitions. The partitions will be gathered by teachers and collected by custodians where they will be shrink-wrapped and stored in case they are ever needed again.

The mask requirement is expected to be revisited in early May after spring break.

Paterson's decision comes the same week that Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the statewide school mask mandate. Though the state mandate has officially ended, individual school districts are free to continue requiring masks.

Other districts that have decided to keep masks include Newark, New Brunswick and Trenton.

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The CDC is developing a "revised policy framework" for when masks should be required on transit systems, according to a U.S. official.

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