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Brick Schools Will Be ‘Mask Optional’ Once Mandate Ends, Superintendent Says

A student wears a face mask while in school. (Credit: Jill Carlson ( Flickr)

A student wears a face mask while in school. (Credit: Jill Carlson ( Flickr)

The Brick Township school district will not impose a mask mandate of its own once the statewide mandate expires March 7 following a decision made last week by Gov. Phil Murphy.

In his statement, Murphy said the state was ready to transition away from the mask mandate as coronavirus moves from a pandemic to an endemic illness.

“This is the first time that I recall the governor has used the term ‘endemic,’ said Superintendent Thomas Farrell, who participated in a roundtable with health officials before a Board of Education meeting this week.

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“I got some pretty optimistic statements today in our county roundtable,” he said, adding that Ocean County was now in the second-lowest risk category, represented by the color yellow. “We’re hoping it goes to green very shortly – possibly next week. These are signs that give me a lot of optimism. It’s time to start leading out of the endemic.”

Farrell said Brick expects to adopt a “mask optional” policy for students once the state mandate ends. To date, however, there has been no formal guidance from the governor’s office or the Department of Education on specific protocols which may be changing, such as quarantine measures.

“It’s so important that we continue to practice tolerance and consideration for others as we implement this new change,” he said. “It’s essential we all work together, with empathy, where everyone can feel comfortable with their choice in this phase.”

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