New Jersey mandating mask wearing in public schools this fall

New Jersey becomes 1 of the first states to mandate wearing masks for public schools this fall.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced today that students, from kindergarteners to seniors in high school, will be required to wear masks when returning to school this fall. Murphy, who has said that he would follow the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, reviewed the agency's report, which came out in late July, reversing their earlier recommendations. The agency said that even fully vaccinated people, if living in areas with significant or high spread of COVID-19, should wear masks indoors. The CDC attributed its revised guidelines to the delta variant, which though rare, can infect even vaccinated people.

It remains to be seen if other states will follow suit. New Jersey's decision is in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines, which had recommended universal masking in schools in mid-July, noting that a significant portion of the student population is not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.