The lifting of Gov. Phil Murphy's statewide mask mandate on March 7 did not bring a complete end to the controversial issue.

Claiming 63% of district parents and employees support keeping kids masked up, the Paterson Board of Education voted to continue their mask mandate until at least after spring Break.

Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer cited "scientific data, the input from many stakeholders, and the latest guidance from public health officials" in a letter to parents last night.

At the same time, education commissioners voted to remove the plastic partitions that had been installed in all classrooms, but reserved the right to start using them again.

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"The partitions currently in use will be gathered by classroom teachers, labeled with teachers’ names and room numbers, and collected by schools’ chief custodians," Shafer said in a statement, "The partitions will be shrink-wrapped and stored in case their use is ever needed again."

The Board of Education has come to their decisions after long and careful consideration. They have considered the scientific data, the input from many stakeholders, and the latest guidance from public health officials. Everyone who enters schools and other buildings in our district will abide by the Board's carefully-made decisions on masks and partitions, and we will continue to take the other precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 virus including frequent handwashing, social distancing, temperature scanning, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home when sick. - Paterson Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer

The Paterson district plans to revisit its local mask mandate after Spring Break in early May.

When Gov. Murphy announced he was lifting his school mask mandate, a number of the state's largest districts announced they would continue mask rules in school buildings.

Many of the above districts will revisit the masking issue after Spring break.

In the West Windsor-Plainsboro School District, masks are being required for students and staff in pre-K through 5th grade. In grades 6-12 masks are optional.

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