Masks To Be Optional In Hoboken Public Schools As Of March 7

A survey conducted by the Hoboken Board of Education pertaining to mask use as of March 7 has revealed most parents and teachers want the District to leave the decision up to them.  They want it to be a personal choice.

On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that the mask mandate for schools will come to an end on March 7.  Individual schools can decide for themselves what to do.

Hoboken Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Christine Johnson, said yesterday that the results of the survey has led the Hoboken Board of Education to announce that mask wearing will be optional in grades K through 12 as of March 7.  Pre-K programs will make their own determination, Johnson said, as they must follow federal guidelines too.

Superintendent Johnson stated, the District’s decision “allows for those that feel comfortable wearing a mask to do so and for those that do not feel comfortable to opt not to wear one.”

In a District message to parents on Friday, Johnson wrote the following:

“I have surveyed both staff and parents … Both groups’ survey results revealed a solid majority asking for masks to be optional.

As you know, this decision is not easy and I used input from both families and staff to generate the position that the district will take right now for our kindergarten through twelfth grade staff and
students.

As we have dealt with the COVID pandemic over the past year and a half in our schools, the Hoboken Public School District has done everything possible to keep our students and staff safe and in school. During that time, we continuously added tools to our toolbox. We hosted vaccination clinics, required large scale testing, and have had rapid antigen testing on site for staff and students. Most recently, we implemented the test to stay strategy so that close contacts could stay in school if remaining asymptomatic.

Over the past two weeks, our positive staff & student COVID cases combined have been:

  1. Hoboken High School: .2%
  2. Hoboken Middle School: .7%
  3. Wallace Elementary School: 1.4%
  4. Brandt Elementary School: .2%
  5. Connors Elementary School: .9%

Our staff vaccination rate district wide is 94.6 percent. Our student vaccination rate (5-18 year olds) is just over 66 percent.

Mandatory mask wearing indoors across the city was lifted last week.

Mask wearing in the Hoboken Public School District, as of March 7th for kindergarten through twelfth grade students and staff will be optional.

However, please understand that authority lies in the hands of local school districts. Therefore, COVID data and transmission rates will be continuously reviewed. If we see that the trend is changing within our schools prior to or after March 7th, we will certainly reassess our
position and let all families know.

I have received a couple of inquiries regarding categorized classrooms. We will not be creating classrooms that group children or staff members together based on mask wearing or on vaccination status.

Remember, this has been a social contract in many ways. It has been a partnership between and among all stakeholders. While this decision may not be favorable to all, it is one that comes with input and the authority to change if necessary. It allows for those that feel comfortable wearing a mask to do so and for those that do not feel comfortable to opt not to wear one.

Thank you as always for your cooperation.”

 

 

 

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