Officials address masks, in-person learning

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[DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS]

POINT PLEASANT — Local leaders at the municipal and school district level are voicing their opinions on recent statements made by Gov. Phil Murphy regarding the wearing of masks and in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced they felt it was now safe for vaccinated persons to go without masks in most indoor, as well as outdoor, settings.

While the state’s facemask mandate for outdoor public spaces was recently lifted, Gov. Murphy has stood by his decision against relaxing the state’s indoor mask mandate for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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In his COVID-19 briefing on May 17, Gov. Murphy stated New Jersey will keep the indoor mandate in place until the state reaches a 70 percent vaccination rate for all those 16 and older. Currently, the state has vaccinated more than 3.8 million individuals, closing in on its goal of vaccinating 4.7 million New Jerseyans by July 1. 

Once the state gets to the point where 70 percent of the adult population in New Jersey is fully vaccinated, the governor stated he will consider lifting the indoor mask mandate. Currently, around 44 percent of the state has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“To say that this is a highly and hotly debated issue is an understatement,” Mayor Robert Sabosik told The Ocean Star.

“From a requirement standpoint … we really don’t have a choice locally. Every municipality in the state from Point Pleasant to Mahwah to Cape May ultimately answers to our governor. Until the governor lifts his mask mandate it has to stay as a requirement at our municipal facilities and when we have events as we are legally bound to follow that directive from the governor and the legislature.”

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