Scotch Plains-Fanwood Schools to Lift Mask Mandates on March 7th


Sophia Lottmann, Staff Writer

Governor Murphy has announced that he will be lifting all mask mandates as of Mar. 7 and that it will be optional for schools to require them. All of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood public schools will be going mask optional on that date. 


In an email to the district, Superintendent Dr.Mast said the governor’s announcement is “a welcome step and a sign that we are moving slowly but surely to a more normal, pre-pandemic way of life.”


While mask use will be optional in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Schools as of Mar. 7, Mast said the district may need to return to stricter mask policy if necessary.


In lifting the state’s mask requirement, Murphy cited data showing that the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have fallen dramatically in recent weeks. Murphy is leaving it up to individual districts to decide whether they will keep the mask mandate or not.


Mast said the school district’s case numbers have followed state trends, which has led them to the decision to not require masks. 


Mast added that it is important that the community supports each family’s decision regarding mask wearing and that everyone has personal circumstances they are dealing with.


It is very important that everyone supports each family’s decision when it comes to this. 


“I don’t agree as COVID isn’t near finished and is spreading rapidly,” SPFHS tenth grader Bianca Depaola said. “I believe [lifting] the mandate would lead to another wave of COVID, only setting us back and not allowing COVID to end.” 


Mast said the Department of Health will develop guidance for school districts over the next few weeks, and there would be some adjustments to the mask-wearing rules for specific circumstances.


The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Schools will work together with the Regional Health Departments for guidance.


“As always we strive to make the best decisions for everyone’s well-being and safety,” Mast said. “Navigating these times has been an ongoing challenge for our school community, and we appreciate your continued support.” 


“I love that [the governor is] lifting it. I think that it’s definitely time and that we have enough resources to handle COVID,” SPFHS tenth grader Iyana Riggins said.


Whatever your stance is on the mask mandate, March 7 will usher in a new phase of living with COVID-19.