In the latest episode of "As the mask dangles" we have Governor Murphy saying "There's a chance" of no mask requirement when students return in the fall.

In the last week, we posted a letter from the Manalapan Superintendent John J. Marciante Jr., Ph.D, as well as a plea from 7-year-old Hailey Bolton addressing the Howell Board of Education asking them to ask Governor Murphy to allow the students to remove their masks.

Tonight I spoke with Dr. Thomas G. Farrell, Superintendent of Schools, Brick Township School District, who posted an open letter to Governor Murphy asking for local control regarding the mask mandate issue.

Photo courtesy of Tm Farrell.
Photo courtesy of Tom Farrell.
Photo courtesy of Tm Farrell.
Photo courtesy of Tom Farrell.

"Unfortunately, superintendents and board of education members have been kind of the lightning rod for many of the decisions that we don't make," Farrell said when I talked to him.

He says he understands but goes on to say, "Here in Brick we've done a pretty good job managing this pandemic over the past year with our restart plan, our staff and we sent out a press release last Thursday from the board of education and myself asking for local control and decision making back to the district."

Even though it's the superintendents and the BOE that deals with the fallout from parents, Dr. Farrell says they get very little input into what comes down.

"We have executive county superintendents, a very collegial county group that meet on a regular basis and we do voice our concerns through that venue that usually get to the department of education. But unfortunately I don't believe a lot of these suggestions or analysis that we go through on a local basis gets to the state level."

What would Dr. Farrell say to all those concerned parents in his district?

"We've never closed as a district and we really do put students first. Our board of education and myself will always advocate for what's best for student.s"

When asked specifically, "Should students under 12 be wearing masks when school starts in September?" Dr. Farrell replied,

"Looking at the data right now, assuming that there's no change in the data over the next three months, I would say no."

Along with that Dr. Farrell says, "Their not wearing them all day as I have said to our parents here in our districts. There are many mask breaks. We're utilizing outside classrooms which is considered the best practice, outside lunches, a lot of outside area and even inside there are a lot of times where they are having mask breaks so their not wearing them."

Getting back to children under 12 wearing the masks in school, Dr. Farrell says, "At this point in time if things stay the same and even improve no."

Let's hope that happens. As things stand now it looks like we're on the right track.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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