Mask Mandates: Livingston Schools Become Mask-Optional Monday

LIVINGSTON, NJ — As some New Jersey school districts, including Livingston, prepare to go mask-optional this coming Monday, they also have to look at how to handle aspects of the change. READ MORE: Masks To Be Optional In Livingston Schools

Several area districts, such as Millburn, are also going mask-optional Monday. South Orange-Maplewood will continue masking for now, something a parent group there has protested.

Sara Potler LaHayne, the founder of the preK-12 social emotional learning curriculum Move This World, said this week that as mask mandates change in New Jersey and New York, educators and families should "practice empathy to build an understanding of the experiences of others. We've all experienced different realities during the pandemic."

She explained, "It’s normal for children to feel confused as mask mandates are removed in schools. They’ve grown accustomed to wearing masks for the past two years, which is a long time in their young lives! Adults, too, have a lot of diverse experiences and opinions about mask wearing and the pandemic. Not everyone in a school community is going to agree."

She added, "Being aware of how children, families, and educators are feeling, setting clear expectations, using a common language to share plans, and recognizing the signs that students need additional support are all ways that schools can prepare."

Find out more about Livingston's COVID rules and updates on the district website.

The state of New Jersey is urging parents to talk to their own pediatrician about the right safety measures for their child.

Statewide Changes

The state handed down a series of new recommendations on Feb. 22 for vaccinations, masks, and more.

Among them, the state said, "Circumstances in New Jersey have improved to the point where relaxation of universal masking rules in K-12 schools can generally occur. School administrators should be prepared for the emergence of new variants or substantial waning immunity that could once again lead to greater morbidity, mortality, and disruption...."

The mask mandate has been dropped for school buses.

People can get information about Essex County testing, vaccines, and boosters here.

Children are less likely to get seriously ill with COVID than adults. However, the CDC has called children losing a parent to COVID a "hidden pandemic." And parents and children have experienced long COVID, as one North Jersey mom shared last year.

In America, more than 955,000 people have died of COVID since the start of the pandemic. The daily death rate is highest right now in these states.

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This article originally appeared on the Livingston Patch