Superintendent David Carr admitted that some parents aren’t happy about the governor’s mask mandate to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in New Jersey schools.
“The good news is that we will be offering full-time instruction for every kid every day,” he said at Wallkill Valley’s Aug. 25 school board meeting.
Effective Aug. 9, Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered that all students, teachers, staff members, and visitors wear face masks indoors for the start of the school year. The order applies to all public, private, and parochial preschool, elementary, and secondary school buildings, with limited exceptions.
“I received emails from some of the parents and heard from the community stating that they are not happy about the mask mandate for their children, and I understand the frustration, but at the same time it’s an executive order, it’s the law and we’re going to follow it,” Carr said. “My priority is and has always been to have the kids back in school.”
Students unable to wear a mask may receive a medical exemption with a doctor’s note, Carr said.
Everyone who works in the school must be vaccinated against Covid-19 this fall, Carr said. Murphy signed an executive order last week requiring that all preschool to grade 12 school personnel be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or be subject to Covid-19 testing one to two times per week.
Carr said he will be meeting with the board of health to find out who will pay for the testing, whether the employee or the district.
“We are required to survey our staff and see which members are vaccinated,” he said. “They need to show proof of vaccination.”
With the highly transmissible Delta variant in mind, Murphy says his executive orders affecting schools will strengthen protections against the virus’s spread to children in school, many of whom are under 12 years old and not yet eligible for vaccination.