Since Governor Phil Murphy abolished the mandatory order of wearing masks in schools on March 7, only eight Lawrence City public school students have tested positive at COVID-19, according to school district officials.

The school district’s COVID-19 control panel, which allows viewers to track the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the county, reported two positive cases for the week of March 7 and five cases for the week of March 14. There was one case in the week of March 21st.

These figures are in contrast to the 49 cases reported between January 31 and March 4, according to the school district’s COVID-19 control panel. The number of positive cases began to decline in late February and continued the general downward trend in March.

Although wearing masks is no longer required in school buildings, some students and staff continue to wear them as the transition between the COVID-19 pandemic and its adoption as endemic continues to grow, said school principal Ross Kasun at the school board. Meeting on March 16.

There was a lot of concern about choosing to wear masks at school, Kasun said. There were concerns about “whether it will cause a stigma for those who choose to wear a mask, or those who choose not to wear a mask, or cause problems and difficulties in our school community,” Kasun said.

To the credit of students and staff, this has become a problem, Kasun said. Many students wear masks and many students do not wear masks. He said many employees wear masks and many employees do not wear them.

“Everyone seems to respect personal choices and just accept what someone wears today, or maybe not tomorrow,” Kasun said.

Another concern was that COVID cases would grow and spread in schools as soon as students and staff took off their masks, but as of March 7, none of the reported cases appear to have been transmitted to the school, he said.

Meanwhile, the school district will continue to update the COVID-19 dashboard daily, the school principal said.

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