PATERSON, NJ (PIX11) — Thousands of students and staff members in New Jersey will return to school Tuesday with masks back on.
At least two larger New Jersey communities are implementing the mask measure amidst rising COVID, Flu and RSV cases.
“Sickness is getting worse, more kids are getting sick,” said Paterson mother Anastasia Dugans. “I work in the school system and kids are always sick.”
It’s why the mom of 14-year-old Janae welcomes masking returning to Paterson Public Schools Tuesday following the break.
But Jeanae is not thrilled.
“It’s harder for me to listen when the teachers are teaching,” she said.
Paterson Public Schools– a community that has always been more assertive with COVID restrictions– made the decision not just due to the surge in COVID cases but also because of the spread of viruses like the flu and RSV during large family and friend gatherings over the holidays.
“We’re really doing this out of an abundance of caution,” said Paterson Schools Superintendent Eileen Shafer.
Shafer pointed to the majority of the state being at high risk for COVID when pressed about why go back to masking. Camden City School will also mask up students and staff once again, but only for two weeks. Paterson does not currently have an end date.
“Everyone has complied in the past and I don’t see this being any different,” Shafer said.
But if anyone doesn’t feel like putting the masks back on, she said there will be warnings, people will not be immediately booted out of school.
“We want to keep in person instruction going, and so we will continue to follow the data and hopefully it will not be for an extended period of time,” the superintendent said.