Child with face mask

With the Covid-19 “Delta” variant spreading throughout the population and in light of new CDC guidance, on Friday, Governor Murphy issued an executive order requiring staff, students and visitors to “all public, private, and parochial preschool programs and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools” to wear face masks when indoors.

Apparently ruling out a continuation of remote learning, the order cites an American Academy of Pediatrics admonition that “in-person learning is critical for educational and social development of children.”

In enacting the new mandate, Murphy said “this is not an announcement that gives any of us or me personally any pleasure, but as the school year approaches and with the numbers rapidly increasing, it is the one we need to make.”

There are, however, eight exceptions. They are:

  1. When doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, such as when the individual is exposed to extreme heat indoors;
  2. When the individual has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face masks without assistance;
  3. When a student’s documented medical condition or disability, as reflected in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Educational Plan pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, precludes use of a face mask;
  4. When the individual is under two (2) years of age;
  5. When the individual is engaged in activity that cannot physically be performed while wearing a mask, such as eating or drinking, or playing a musical instrument that would be obstructed by aface mask;
  6. When the individual is engaged in high-intensity aerobic or anaerobic activity;
  7. When a student is participating in high-intensity physical activities during a physical education class in a well-ventilated location and able to maintain a physical distance of six feet from all other individuals; or
  8. When wearing a face mask creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels