HADDONFIELD, N.J. (CBS) — In New Jersey, the heated debate over mask mandates in schools isn’t taking a summer break. Gov. Phil Murphy says students will not have to wear masks when they return to class this fall.
In May, New Jersey’s governor announced all districts will return to full in-person instruction this fall with no remote option.READ MORE: Realmuto, Segura Help Phillies Rally To 7-5 Win Vs. Nats
And on Monday, he took another step toward normal. But not everyone is on board.
“I’m still concerned about my kids,” one parent said.
“I’m actually excited about it,” said another.
New Jersey parents are split on Murphy’s decision to lift the mask mandate for students when they return to class this fall.
“I think parents should have the option to have their kids wear masks or not,” one man said.
“I don’t think we have enough research to show it’s time to get back to normal yet,” a parent said.
“We don’t know what the long-term ramifications are and they are really young,” another parent said.READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Casey Johnston's Parents Speaks Out After Missing Daughter's Body Found
Last week, school leaders submitted their safe return plans for fall learning.
“It is certainly our preference because that provides us with an opportunity to get the input of our individual communities,” said Harrison Township Superintendent of Schools Dr. Missi Quinn Peretti.
Monday’s announcement allows the districts to have the final say in whether or not masks will be mandatory
“Short of any major changes between now and September, our start of school year, masks will not be required,” Peretti said.
Under current CDC guidelines, children under age 12 are not eligible to receive a COVID vaccine, meaning for Harrison Township’s two schools grades kindergarten through 6, most if not all students won’t have a shot, and protocols including social distancing and handwashing will still be key.
“We are hopeful that we can move forward with a very safe experience for our children, our staff and our visitors with as much normalcy as possible,” Peretti said.
Harrison Township schools are set to return to class Wednesday, Sept 8. Children and faculty can still individually opt to wear a mask when they do.MORE NEWS: New Jersey Requiring All Employees In 'Certain' Healthcare Facilities Get COVID-19 Vaccine Or Regular Testing By Early September
CBS3’s Alicia Roberts reports.