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HomenewsAfter the Winter Break, Two Districts in New Jersey Will Implement a...

After the Winter Break, Two Districts in New Jersey Will Implement a Mask Policy Due to the Increased Prevalence of Respiratory Viruses Such as Covid, Influenza, and Rsv.

After the holidays, thousands of kids in two New Jersey school districts will confront COVID-19 face mask policies.

Paterson public school officials stated Thursday that students and staff must wear face masks indoors starting Jan. 3. When classes start, the move will affect 25,000 kids in the state’s fourth-largest school district.

Last Monday, the Camden City School District, with 6,800 pupils in 18 schools, imposed a two-week mask rule.

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“Your safety and well-being is our concern thus to limit the spread of sickness, it has been decided that upon the return from winter break we are reintroducing the districtwide mask mandate,” Paterson school district superintendent Eileen Shafer wrote to parents and guardians.

Shafer cited growing COVID-19, respiratory syncing virus (RSV), and flu rates in Passaic County and the state to justify reinstituting mask requirements in Paterson public schools, which were optional in May.

In a Dec. 21 statement to families, Camden School Superintendent Katrina McCombs cited a rise in cases as a reason to reinstate the policy.

COVID, flu, and RSV cases have increased in New Jersey.
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Therefore, to be proactive and vigilant, all schools and offices will function under a brief mask mandate upon reopening,” said McCombs, adding that the need will end on Jan. 17.

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As of Dec. 22, state health officials reported “high” community COVID-19 levels in 18 New Jersey counties, including Passaic and Camden. Last week, only Sussex, Somerset, and Mercer counties had “medium” COVID-19 community levels, according to the CDC. The agency recommends masks in “high” coronavirus zones.

Paterson’s Director of Health, Dr. (Thakur ‘Paul’) Persaud, advised this choice due to the city’s wide dispersion. Shafer added, “We will revisit this choice as we follow the data and watch the transmission rate.”

According to the New Jersey Hospital Association and other health officials, a “triple threat” of respiratory infections sent over 900 youngsters to New Jersey emergency departments after Thanksgiving.

A week after Passaic Public Schools, which enrolls 14,000 kids, ordered face masks again because of a COVID-19 outbreak, Paterson’s 50 schools ordered them again Thursday.

A Paterson public schools spokesperson said Thursday that officials will monitor transmission rates and “reevaluate the decision as warranted.”

Shafer said that Paterson students must wear masks inside schools except while eating, drinking, or taking medication. Visitors must wear masks. District requirements have been debated.

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“I know the mask requirement is a relief to some and a frustration to others,” Shafer added. I need your help regardless of your standing.

Please keep universal masking in our facilities and take other precautions against COVID-19, RSV, and flu, such as frequent hand washing, avoiding big gatherings, and staying home when sick.”

The Paterson school district administrator said masks and other PPE will be accessible to kids and employees. Camden school officials have held immunization clinics and provided PPE.

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