Dear Eatontown Public Schools Community Member:
As the Superintendent of Schools, I wanted to provide a few important updates to the school community as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 environment. As you know, on February 7, 2022, Governor Murphy announced at a news conference that masks and facial coverings will no longer be mandated for students, staff, or visitors in schools and childcare centers effective March 7, 2022. Although this announcement was a surprise to many of us in the educational community, the announcement was made in the context of a significant decline in statewide COVID-19 metrics.
The decision regarding the status of masks in schools rests with the local Boards of Education across the state. This is a policy decision for the local school districts. Eatontown Public Schools has followed the state guidance in relation to COVID-19 over the last two years. The district will continue to monitor this guidance in the future.
Based upon input from the School Physician, Monmouth County Health Department, school administration, the local association, as well as the Board of Education, Eatontown Public Schools will adopt a mask-optional policy effective March 7, 2022. Quite simply, students, staff, or visitors will have the right to determine whether or not they choose to wear a mask inside the schools based upon their own decision-making process, in an environment free from harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying. However, there will be some considerations for this policy in the future.
First, as per federal regulations, students will still need to wear masks on school buses as of this writing. Please do not blame the messenger. Second, if health conditions change drastically in the future and our area enters the Red (Very High) level based upon the COVID-19 Activity Level Report or a recommendation from the Monmouth County Health Department, masks may need to be reinstated for a period of time until health conditions improve. Lastly, the school district is still awaiting the guidance promised by the Governor on February 7, 2022 related to the change in the mask mandate for schools. There are still open questions regarding how this change will affect protocols such as close contacts, social distancing, and quarantine. When the district receives this guidance, another communication will be sent to the entire school community.
Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation during this time. I think we can all agree that we look forward to better times ahead.
Scott T. McCue
Superintendent of Schools