New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced on Feb. 7 that the state-wide mask mandate in schools would be lifted as the state and country works to move towards “normalcy.”
Murphy stated that the removal of the mandate will be effective March 7. The news comes after two years of the outbreaks in New Jersey and New York, both epicenters for the COVID-19 virus that killed more than 900,000 people nationwide. However, the decision also comes as relief as the nation is attempting to head towards life no longer impacted by the COVID-19 virus.
The lifted mask mandate will apply to preschool through grade 12, having no direct impact on colleges throughout the state.
Rowan University has been reminding everyone in the community of their health and safety guidelines– specifically to wear masks in the classroom and indoors on campus.
Dr. Tony Lowman, university provost, discussed the Glassboro college’s next steps in response to the governor’s decision.
“Our situation is more complex because of considerations for classroom settings, office settings, clinical settings at the medical school,” Lowman said. “That said, we are continually monitoring all data provided by the state health officials and we are looking at how that impacts our operations.”
According to usafacts.org, the vaccine rate of the population in New Jersey is about 73%, meaning the state is in a place where they can start making decisions about updating health and safety guidelines. Rowan University, like other colleges in the state, offered a vaccination “bonus” in order to encourage more individuals to get vaccinated as the community tries to move towards a life post-pandemic.
“We have to remember that the governor’s announcement technically becomes effective March 7 – which is nearly one month away. We will continue to follow the data as we always have and adapt our health and safety protocols appropriately,” Lowman said. “I am optimistic that things will continue to improve on our campus.”
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