New Jersey’s K-12 school district will have until next week to decide whether to keep the mandate on the mask for students in school buses and other vehicles, or make it optional.

Last month, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the state’s mandate for school masks would be lifted on March 7. At the time, he said the decision to make the masks optional or keep the mandate after March 7 would be left to local school officials. The same now applies to the school bus mask mandate.

This comes after changes made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that no longer require masks in “buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education / childcare programs.”

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CDC changed the recommendations on the requirement of masks in school buses Feb. 25, two weeks after Murphy revoked his school mask. Before the CDC changed its recommendations, masks remained a requirement on buses to comply with federal government orders.

“We are pleased that the federal government has taken steps to bring the bus protocol into line with the requirements of the mask for New Jersey schools,” said Alena Alfaro-Post, a spokeswoman for the governor. “In New Jersey, the mask requirements for schools will be lifted. March 7, as previously reported. School districts must continue to require masks on buses until March 7, when the state’s powers at the school expire,” she said in a statement.

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