Citing the “recent and rampant spread” of the Delta variant of COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today that all students, educators, staff and visitors must wear masks inside school buildings for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
“This is not an announcement that gives us any of us any pleasure,” Murphy said, stressing that schools will open for full-time in-person instruction in September. “Children learn better in a classroom setting,” he added.
The decision comes against a background of rising COVID-19 cases in Verona. Essex County recorded the 1,000th case of the virus in Verona on July 27. As of this morning, just 10 days later, we are already at 1,022. There were 99 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Essex County today, and the increase countywide is 532 cases since August 1.
Verona Superintendent Dr. Rui Dionisio said today that his administrative team will be making an announcement next week on how Verona will implement the mask mandate.
The do-called Delta variant of COVID-19 has been responsible for a rising number of cases and hospitalizations since the July 4 holiday. According to an analysis of New Jersey Department of Health data by the independent news organization NJSpotlight.com, the Delta variant, which accounted for only 16% of all COVID-19 cases on July 1, was 84% of all cases on August 4. Statewide, seven children have died from COVID-19, the state said today.
You can watch the press conference here: