Parent Voices on Masks in Schools, Mandatory Vaccines, and Virtual Learning Options

New Jersey is abuzz (at least among parents of K-12 students) with reactions to Gov. Phil Murphy’s mandates that 1) all schools resume full-time in-person learning and 2) everyone must wear a mask. He has yet to order vaccinations for all school staff members, although that may just be a matter of timing. Already New York City, Philadelphia, California, Denver, and Washington, D.C. have instituted policies that give educators the choice between getting vaccinated or submitting to weekly testing. Both U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci have endorsed mandatory vaccines for school staff.

Yet there’s resistance in NJ Murphy’s mandates.  Wall Township Public Schools, for example, is defying Murphy’s masking order and making masks optional. 

This lack of consensus on precautionary measures may be why some NJ parents continue to plead for a remote learning option, already in place in nearby Philadelphia. Meanwhile the Great Mask Debate continues, well, unabated, along with dissension about virtual options and vaccine mandates.

Here are some representative comments appended to recent NJER stories (via our Facebook page) on Murphy, masks, vaccines, and options for remote instruction. 

“NJ needs the governor to lift his ban on a virtual OPTION in every school NOW.”

“I’m sending my kids to school for sure because we tried virtual and it didn’t work out. Also because my youngest not being around other kids around her own age she’s starting to talk like a baby again pretty much. When she talks we really can’t understand what she’s trying to tell us so yeah she needs to go back.”

“Some kids did great in remote. Some kids did great in school. Should be up to the parents.”

“Most of the children did well in virtual schooling last year. Why not try an alternative means . What about my child / my choice. !!”

“Masks should be worn indoors K-12 by everyone until this virus is under control. Follow the science. It is viral conditions that determines mask mandates, not public opinion of parents.”

“Murphy is berating anti-maskers for ‘letting children die’ in schools and ‘shutting them down’ YET he is allowing all of these kids to eat unmasked together at lunchtime packed full capacity. There is simply no way kids can or will properly keep a mask on all day long. My kids’ school had masks mandated all day, 5 days a week, in person, all last year, and there were STILL cases in each kid’s class, more than once. The issue here is that this Delta thing is MORE contagious than the first variant, AND these kids will be bringing it home, not only themselves unvaccinated and susceptible, but also to family members who have already been vaccinated! A NJ restaurant has named ‘It’s Greek To Me’ (google them) just said they will NOT allow kids under 12 to dine inside because of the risk to patrons. So…The option of whether to send kids in person should reside with the parents. NJ needs to reinstate a remote option NOW so that families unwilling to take the risk with their unvaccinated kids can have school in 3 weeks, AND so the kids who will undoubtedly need to have an option for remote when class is quarantined can get their work done and not be out for 2 weeks! ENOUGH OF THIS CRAP! Vote for a CHOICE because Murphy himself is the only one who can remove this idiotic ban on remote!”

“I bought my kids, protective hazmat suits so they won’t catch the COVID . We need take this seriously.”

“Unconstitutional. Needs to be tested in the courts.”

“My kids will sit home.”

“Maybe we should have a virtual option. When schools opened last year they did cohorts. The buildings here in my district were not at full capacity. With all students going back and knowing that exposures will happen, while those kids are at home for the 7-14 day quarantine, at least they can do remote learning and won’t fall behind. Why is it that approximately 33 other states offer an online accredited school of some kind but not NJ? We are too busy throwing other things at them to realize that we need a plan b. Schools scrambled when lock down hit. Why is it so much to ask for a plan b that has been researched and planned out and not thrown together?”

“Proud of the school district where I was raised for doing the right thing.”

“Masks inhibit everyone’s health- mind, body, spirit. Children have lost so much already! Their ability to interact normally in their school environment is vital to their growth in every area!”

“How about you let families make their own choices in regard to mask and vaccines. Stop forcing it on teachers and staff as well. This shit isn’t a one fits all and im so tired of the push to be vaccinated. You want it you get it. Stop shoving shit down people’s throats.”

“I understand that many feel it should be optional, however, that makes it really difficult for me to decide if it is safe to send my immunocompromised child to school in sept because of the delta variant. She will be wearing a mask, BUT others not wearing them puts her at higher risk..”


Staff Writer

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