Responding to Governor Murphy’s unwillingness to eliminate the mask mandate for schoolchildren, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano of the 10th Legislative District are sponsoring a bill to do just that.
Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano will introduce legislation that would allow school students to take off their masks. (Pixabay)
“When the Governor made his grand announcement about removing restrictions in time for the Memorial Day Weekend, parents were stunned that school students would still be required to wear masks,” said Holzapfel. “There is no justification for forcing kids to remain masked. Children and young people are less likely to be impacted by the virus, and they generally have mild cases if they do become infected. The masks are overkill at this point. Ultimately, parents should have a choice as to whether or not their child wears a mask in school.”
On Monday, Murphy signed an executive order that takes effect on Friday. Masks will no longer be required indoors, and social distancing requirements at restaurants, stores, gyms and other businesses will be repealed.
“What is the logic in allowing adults to be unmasked at bars and on dancefloors, which is long overdue, yet our children still need to remain masked up and distant during the school day?” questioned McGuckin. “School districts across the state are finalizing plans for summer programs to compensate for the pandemic’s impact on learning. Under our bill, the students, without their masks, would be in better position to make up for the lost classroom time. Unnecessary masks shouldn’t stand in the way of education.”
The end of the current school year is rapidly approaching, and the 10th District lawmakers’ bill would also ensure that masks are not required when students return to classrooms in September.
“COVID numbers continue to trend in the right direction, and children are the least impacted age group,” said Catalano. “Masks on the children are no longer needed.
“If the Governor is reluctant to let school kids drop their masks, our bill would take this important step toward normalizing the educational environment,” Catalano continued. “Students should be learning to read and write, not fidgeting behind an uncomfortable layer of material.”
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