In a perfect New Jersey, there would be no COVID-19, nor mask mandates in schools and hopefully no vaccine mandates for students. But we do not live in a perfect New Jersey. We live in a New Jersey that has become full of mandates and could become even fuller if Governor Murphy imposes what the states around us are doing.

I can't remember how old I was when I first heard the word "mandate" but it has now become a part of young children's lives as they are forced to wear masks in schools. Mandates have also become what's dividing their parents as they fight at school board meetings to get them removed.

Mandates could take on an even bigger divisive role should students be "mandated" to get vaccinated. As much as Governor Murphy appears to be holding it off, you just get the feeling that it's coming.

FILE - In this June 6, 2021 file photo, a youth receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the central Israeli city of Rishon LeZion. The pharmaceuticals Pfizer and BioNTech say they have requested that their coronavirus vaccine be licensed for children aged 5 to 11 across the European Union. If authorized, it would be the first opportunity for younger children in Europe to be get immunized against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
FILE - In this June 6, 2021 file photo, a youth receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the central Israeli city of Rishon LeZion. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
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What should also be coming in New Jersey is a full-time virtual academy. I'm not talking about a situation where teachers are forced to teach to both a live classroom and computers but a staff of teachers who only teaches to a virtual classroom that is comprised of students from around the state whose parents don't want them forced to wear masks or possibly be forced to take the jab.

With New Jersey schools being forced to go remote, and one actually giving a stress day off, you can see the toll this is taking on our children. If you really want to ease the stress on students, teachers, and parents, give them the option of a virtual academy.

Those who don't want to subject their children to mandates can simply keep them home. Those who would like to home school their children now have an option that they're already paying for with their school taxes.

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There are many people in New Jersey who would like a virtual academy.

New Jersey Parents for Personal Choice says, "33 states already have free public virtual school options." New Jersey should definitely be number 34.

Young teen girl sitting on her bed writing in a notebook
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If you feel that kids need to be in school to properly learn, then send mask up your child and send them to school, if you don't feel comfortable with that and would like to have your child learn at home you should be able to have that option as well.

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 7-11 p.m. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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