While adults will no longer be required to wear masks in most public places in New Jersey after Friday, the mandate that children under the age of 12 continue to wear them will likely still be effect in the fall, according to Gov. Phil Murphy.

Murphy announced Monday the current mask mandate remains in effect for public, private, and parochial elementary and secondary schools including charter and renaissance schools as vaccines are not yet available for children under the age of 12.

Appearing on Tuesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC  the governor said he doesn't expect that to change by the start of the 2021-22 school year.

"My guess is, as a result of that, if I had to bet today, that we will have masking in schools in the fall as a result of that and I would suspect we will continue with some of the public health protocols inside the classroom and inside the school buildings to try to mitigate the concern," Murphy said. "The concern is a legitimate one."

Murphy said his administration will release a plan for the next school year within in the next month.

The masking of students has increasingly become an issue despite CDC guidance that says masks protect children, the only age group not eligible for the vaccine.

A group of parents held a protest outside the Point Pleasant Board of Education meeting on Monday over mask wearing in school. Nicole Capoano told News 12 New Jersey that mask wearing teaches children to live in fear and causes them headaches and dizziness.

Middletown Township have updated their policy to allow students to unmask while outdoors as temperatures get warmer.

"The governor’s executive order provides school districts with some exceptions to the face mask requirement, including when temperatures are hot and/or when students are engaged in high-intensity activities," superintendent Mary Ellen Walker said in a letter.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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