Governor Phil Murphy said in his press conference Monday that school districts can make the call on whether to relax mask rules for students and staff in extreme heat. Murphy said that discretion was already a part of the existing directive on mask-wearing at schools. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said outdoor summer camps will not require masking of children and staff, according to new guidance from the CDC.
Unvaccinated campers and staffers will still be “strongly encouraged” to wear masks outdoors when “participating in activities which include sustained contact with others, or when in a crowded setting.”
“In-school masking requirements include exceptions for extreme heat,” read a message from Murphy on his social media. “School officials are empowered to make the best decision for their buildings and communities.”
Persichilli said that extreme heat would be defined by schools and camps based on their own areas.
Last month, Murphy lifted the mask mandates for most public places, though unvaccinated individuals are still strongly encouraged to wear face coverings.
The governor and many school districts have recently gotten pushback from parents who want mask rules removed from schools since children are not required to wear them in other places, noting that it’s far less likely for kids to contract a serious case of COVID.