East Windsor Regional School District officials expect to decide soon whether to relinquish the mandate on student masks in the classroom or extend it beyond March 7, the date when Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the nationwide mandate would be revoked.

On February 7, Murphy announced that students, staff, or visitors to schools and childcare facilities would not need masks or face masks, indicating a reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

The East Windsor Regional School District has reported three new cases of COVID-19 among students for the week of Feb. 7 and two new cases among staff.

As of September 9, 2021, there were 177 cases among students and 120 cases among staff.

The COVID-19 School District Control Panel monitors cases of illness among students who attended school in person or who participated in extracurricular activities, as well as staff who worked on campus.

If the school district waives the mask mandate, students will be able to wear a face mask. However, all students traveling by bus to school must wear a face mask because of federal mask rules.

School principal Mark Daniels said the governor’s announcement “gives us a sense of cautious optimism for the coming months.”

But there are still some details that need to be worked out before the school district decides on the course of action after March 7, Daniels said.

School district officials are awaiting updated instructions from the state Department of Education and the state health department regarding possible distance reviews, close contacts and recommendations for individuals returning to school after isolation or quarantine, he said.

“Since we have about one month to prepare, we need to consider enough information to make sure we make informed decisions and recommendations (in disguise),” Daniels said.

Representatives of school districts will monitor local health data and review updated instructions from the State Department of Education and the State Department of Health, and will notify the East Windsor Regional School District community of their decision by March 7, Daniels said.

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