Response To Mask Mandate End Varies In Township Schools

At least one school in the township will not immediately embrace Gov. Phil Murphy’s lifting of the Covid-19-inspired mask mandate.

Cedar Hill Prep School, on Cedar Grove Lane, is taking a cautious approach to the end of the mask mandate, said school founder Nandini Menon.

“We are still being cautious,” she said in an email.

Murphy announced on February 9 that he would lift the mask mandate – in effect since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic – on March 7. He is leaving it up to individual school districts and private schools to determine if they want to continue with the the mandate themselves.

Township schools will follow the state Department of Health Guidelines, which will most likely mimic Murphy’s order, a district spokeswoman said.

Central Jersey College Prep Charter School is leaning toward making masks optional, a school spokeswoman said on February 8.

Cedar Hill Prep’s Menon said that, “Currently everyone has to wear an N95 mask or equivalent; if not we are asking them to be double masked.”

“We will be downgrading this to “wearing a mask,” at least until after our Spring Break,” she said. “We are still not comfortable with the No Mask decision.”

District spokeswoman Mary Clark said in an email that the district is awaiting teh state DOH guidance.

“Based upon the comments made by the Governor and NJ Commissioner of Health, we expect that guidance to allow for staff and students to continue to wear masks if they choose,” she wrote. “Their comments also indicated that a district would have the flexibility to require mask wearing should circumstances deem that action appropriate.”

“If the guidance allows the district to reinstate mask wearing and circumstances warrant such action, the district would do so in consultation with the local health department,” she wrote.

Schools Superintendent John Ravally said in an email that “Throughout this school year we have worked closely with the Somerset County Department of Health and are fortunate to have such a responsive agency to assist in making health related policies and protocols for our students and staff.”

Asli Cebe of CJCP said a final decision had not yet been made, but she believed that mask wearing will be made optional, “and we will encourage wearing them.”

Oguz Yildiz, the Lead Person at Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School, said the issue is still being discussed.

“We will have a final response the first week in March,” he said in an email.

This is a developing story, as we receive information from more schools. Check back.

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