When I first heard about the idea of students wearing masks in school, I thought, "That’s just so silly that this governor actually might make it happen." And now it is happening.

It’s easy for someone to make a unilateral decision for hundreds if not thousands of public school kids across the state without ever experiencing it for himself. Or for his kids, for that matter. But when the governor announced last week that when schools reopen this fall, kids needed to have cloth face coverings all day long, people were aghast.

Then again, there were other people who simply said, “Well, this is the right thing to do. This is the safe thing to do. I guess I’ll just have to follow the rules."

I am thrilled to see that one man in charge, namely John J. Marciante the superintendent of Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District school district, understands how ridiculous this mandate is.

At the time, the governor hadn't even yet budged on his requirement that all schools send kids back at least some of the time. He's expected to give districts the option to go all-remote with an announcement today.

Do others see it too, and are just not publicly commenting? It’s hard enough for adults to put on masks and wear them in indoor environments where there’s air conditioning. But now you’re talking about schools with no air conditioning, and young children donning these masks for hours on end and then expecting them to accomplish something during the school day.

Due to the new mandate, Marciante, realizing the difficult, if not impossible, task of trying to educate kids with masks on in non air-conditioned buildings decided to change the opening schedule for his district. Despite earlier plans, he said last week second- through fifth-grade students at Clark Mills School, Lafayette Mills School, Taylor Mills School and Milford Brook School, as well as all sixth-grade students at Pine Brook School, have only virtual classes for the first month that school resumes. After September, the district will re-evaluate.

We'll see if he revises the plans even further, now that Murphy's signing off on letting districts keep kids at home. It wasn't even clear before that if Marciante's plan would get the state OK.

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Marciante echoes the sentiments of many parents in the township, as well as in the state, by criticizing the new mask rules.

“While additional guidance was promised, one thing is clear, Governor Murphy has not sat in a classroom in a non-air conditioned school during September for any extended period of time," Marciante  said last week.


The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.


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