Parents and students in two New Jersey school districts are protesting the state's mask mandate in schools. Last week's protests came after Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, who lifted a mask mandate for schools in July, reversed course. He reinstated it in early August, blaming the Delta variant of the coronavirus for the change.
Joe Connor of We Win America, who lives in the Garden State, sees Murphy's decision as power politics. "It's a cynical, political power play by this governor and other governors – and it's simply unacceptable," he says. "These parents need to stand up and say no – just no."
Murphy ordered masks must be worn inside of schools when classes resume next month because of rising cases. Parents in Toms River and New Egypt have been pushing their local school boards to let the governor know they won't comply with his orders – but one report says school officials in New Egypt were not moved and planned to send unmasked children home.
Mixed messages coming from state officials, says Connor, only confuse anxious parents.
"This is what we're seeing here. They just change the rules; [they] change the goals – and it keeps you off balance, unsure of what's going to happen next," says Connor. "It's a very strong way to control people."
Murphy announced today (Monday) that all school employees in the state must be fully vaccinated by mid-October or submit to twice-a-week COVID tests. His order applies to all public, private, parochial and charter schools, pre-school through 12th grade.