As you have probably seen, Governor Murphy held a press conference today where he announced that all educators, staff, students and visitors in the indoor premises of all public, private, and parochial preschool, elementary, and secondary school buildings, with limited exceptions. The Executive Order is effective on Monday, August 9, 2021.
While masks will be broadly required in school buildings for the coming school year, exceptions will remain unchanged from the 2020-2021 school year, and include:
- When doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, such as when the individual is exposed to extreme heat indoors;
- When the individual has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance;
- When a student’s documented medical condition or disability, as reflected in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Educational Plan pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, precludes use of a face covering;
- When the individual is under two (2) years of age;
- When an individual is engaged in an activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask, such as eating and drinking or playing an instrument that would be obstructed by the face covering;
- When the individual is engaged in high-intensity aerobic or anerobic activity;
- When a student is participating in high-intensity physical activities during a physical education class in a well-ventilated location and able to maintain a physical distance of six feet from all other individuals;
- When wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task.
To summarize, this executive order pertains to all schools (including nonpublic schools) as well as all children over the age of two. It is only for indoor premises. Masks are not required outdoors in this executive order. Masks are not required for eating or for physical education.
There are certainly open questions regarding some of the details of Governor Murphy’s announcement. We are working in close coordination with the Department of Health officials and the Governor’s office to seek further clarity. Please send any additional questions you may have and we will do our best to address them.
With warm regards,
Executive Director, Teach NJ