Murphy has shifted his stance somewhat regarding mask-wearing and social distancing in schools when the 2021-22 school year starts.
Murphy may address the issue during his 1 p.m. news conference on Monday. Patch will cover it live.
Here’s the latest on where Murphy and New Jersey stand:
Should You Expect Masks In NJ Schools In The Fall Amid COVID-19?
In late May, Murphy reiterated his position that New Jersey students and staff likely still be wearing masks when the 2021-22 school year starts in September, but he did offer wiggle room for high school students and others who already have been vaccinated.
Murphy first acknowledged that his statements were predictions and that a lot could change by early September.
“My guess is we’re likely to be masked, for the simple reason that only a couple weeks ago were we able to get 12- to 15-year-olds vaccinated,” Murphy said in reply to a reporter’s question about letters from two Ocean County school districts urging him to drop the mask mandate.
Murphy did note that most high schoolers will have been long vaccinated by the time the fall arrives because those 16 and older have been able to get vaccinated since the start.
“Someone asked me this morning another good question inside of that: Do you think you can lift them in high schools before younger ages because the high school kids, by definition, will have been vaccinated or will have had more time on the clock?” he said. “The answer to that would be yes.”
Here’s why he’s taking a cautious approach
Murphy said the fact that vaccines are not available to children under 12 years old means that masks will likely be required in at least elementary and possibly middle schools.
“My guess is, as a result of that, if I had to bet today, that we will have masking in schools in the fall as a result of that, and I would suspect we will continue with some of the public health protocols inside the classroom and inside the school buildings to try to mitigate the concern,” he told “Morning Joe.” “The concern is a legitimate one.”
That concern, Murphy said, is that children under 12 could be susceptible to spreading or contracting the virus.
Karen Wall and Nicole Rosenthal contributed to this story.