The state of New Jersey will no longer require masks in school next month.
The New York Times reports that Governor Phil Murphy on Monday will announce the end of the statewide mask mandate. As of the second week of March, masks will be optional for both students and school employees.
The move by New York’s neighbor puts additional focus on Governor Kathy Hochul and whether she’ll eventually follow suit. On Friday, Hochul suggested that improved vaccination numbers among children will ultimately determine if and when masks in school will come off.
“The more children we have vaccinated, the safer they will be when they go to school at the time they get to where they won’t need a mask anymore. It’s something we’re striving for, but we’re just not there yet,” Hochul said.
Murphy isn’t the only governor to recently phase out mask requirements. Tom Wolf, the governor of Pennsylvania and a fellow Democrat, announced back in November that his administration wouldn’t be renewing its mask mandate, letting the final decision fall to local school officials in the new year.
Glenn Youngkin, the newly elected Republican governor of Virginia, has made opposition to mask requirements a key part of his agenda, signing an executive order allowing parents to opt out of mask mandates. Seven school boards in Virginia have sued Youngkin over the order.