PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) – Masks will no longer be required in Paterson Public Schools starting Thursday.

The Board of Education commissioners voted to end the mask mandate in schools and district buildings starting Thursday, May 12. Wearing masks will be optional.

“The Board of Education has come to their decision after long and careful consideration,” Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer said in a statement. “They have considered the data and the latest guidance from public health officials. We will continue to take the other precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 virus including the use of air blasters and air purifiers in every room, frequent handwashing, social distancing, temperature scanning, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home when sick.”

New Jersey’s statewide school mask mandate ended on March 7, but individual districts were still able to require them on their own.