Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced he will no longer require students and employees to wear masks at school.
Murphy said on Sunday that he would officially announce the end of the mandate on Monday, and the new policy will take effect the second week of March, the New York Times reports.
The move comes after a decision last month by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to end the state’s school mask mandate.
Democratic governors of New York and Connecticut also said last week they were in the process of re-evaluating the school mask mandates that are set to expire shortly.
After meeting with Joe Biden at the White House during the annual governor’s conference last week, Murphy urged it was time to reconsider how to manage the virus.
“The overwhelming sentiment on both sides of the aisle is we want to get to a place where we can live with this thing in as normal a fashion as possible,” he said last Wednesday.
New Jersey is one of 11 states that have mandatory mask mandates in place for students. Indeed, students in New Jersey have been required to mask up since September of 2020.
In an interview on Sunday, Murphy also said that the policy implementation was timed for March, when temperatures will begin to rise, giving schools additional ventilation options.
“It isn’t July Fourth,” he said, “but it gets you into a marginally better weather period.”
Murphy said that ending the mandate is a “huge step toward normalcy.”