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MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT: MASK MANDATE & SAFETY PROTOCOLS UPDATE

MARCH 1, 2022 - MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT: MASK MANDATE & SAFETY PROTOCOLS UPDATE

Dear School Community, 

As you are aware, in order to open schools safely in September to support academic, social, and emotional development and learning, the district implemented multiple mitigation measures. These include mandating face masks, social distancing, promoting good respiratory and hand hygiene, temperature monitoring, COVID-19 reporting line, additional nursing support, contact tracing, air purifiers with ionizers, and assisting with vaccine accessibility to ensure the health and safety of employees and students. 

On February 7, Governor Murphy formally announced that the universal school mask mandate will be lifted effective Monday, March 7. As a result, local school districts are to decide whether to keep mask mandates in place for students, teachers, and staff. 

After surveying our students, parents, district staff, and community members, reviewing the COVID-19 activity level in our region (moderate), and having several discussions with the board of education members, community partners,  and our medical consultants, New Brunswick Public Schools will continue requiring all students, staff, and visitors to wear masks while indoors. Our plan is to take a measured approach by relaxing some mitigation strategies currently in place and then revisit the mask mandate when we return from spring break. 

Effective Monday, March 7, our safety protocol will be adjusted as follows: 

  • Temperature checking of students and staff will no longer be required upon entry to the school building, though random temperature checks will be conducted.
  • Masks will be optional for students and staff while participating in outdoor activities (physical education classes, recess, etc.). Social distancing practices remain in place while outdoors.
  • Classroom sneeze guards (plexiglass dividers) will be optional for students and teachers, though they will remain in place in common areas. 
  • The time of mask breaks will increase from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. 

Again, mandatory in-school wearing of masks will continue for New Brunswick Public Schools with the understanding that this safety measure will be reassessed upon our return from spring break. We will continue to update you on any further changes to our protocols. Our hope is that the COVID-19 transmission rates will continue to decline as we enter the months of April and May. We anticipate the COVID-19 activity level in our region will move to “low” by that time, and warmer temperatures will allow for classroom windows to be opened. With the flu season also behind us by then, we should be in a better position to make informed decisions.

Thank you,

Dr. Aubrey A. Johnson
Superintendent of Schools