Brielle Elementary School to modify mask requirements

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Brielle Elementary School. FILE PHOTO

BRIELLE – Rules for wearing masks while at Brielle Elementary School will be eased starting next week, in response to modifications made to Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 175, School Superintendent Christine Carlson wrote in a letter sent to parents on Friday, June 11.

“Effective Monday, June 14, 2021, students, faculty, support staff and all visitors will no longer be required to wear face coverings when outdoors on school property. Face coverings will be optional for everyone when outdoors,” Ms. Carlson wrote. 

Also effective on Monday, “and in response to increased temperatures and relative humidity, students who are experiencing excessive heat and a hard time breathing may lower or remove face coverings when seated at their designated seats, or when involved in gross motor play during indoor gym class. 

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“Students, teachers, and staff members will wear masks when social distance can not be maintained and while moving around the classroom and school building. Movement means masks,” Ms. Carlson stated. 

Students and staff in New Jersey have been required to wear face coverings while inside school buildings.

But during his coronavirus briefing in Trenton on Monday, Gov. Murphy offered a possible escape hatch for some, and school districts throughout the state have been eager to respond.

“As a reminder to all school officials, our current masking requirements do include exceptions for cases of extreme heat in outdoor settings and for situations indoors or outdoors where wearing a mask would inhibit the individual’s health,” the governor said. “School officials are empowered to relax masking among students and staff in their buildings, given extreme weather conditions, and we hope they will make the right calls for their educational communities.

Earlier in the week, on June 8, Brielle school leaders sent a letter to Gov. Murphy, asking him to lift the requirement for students and staff to wear masks inside school buildings, by the time the new school year begins in September. The letter was signed by Ms. Carlson and school board President Karen Dettlinger. 

The letter goes on to state, “Socially-emotionally, many students are exhausted and confused from the past year and we sincerely believe that the elimination of the mandate would lift spirits and lessen anxieties. Both the CDC and WHO have significantly downgraded their list of prohibitive practices as the number of vaccinated individuals increase and the number of cases decrease.” 

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