MASSIVE WIN FOR REPUBLICANS: As Four State Governors Have Indicated Plans To End Their Mask Mandates

USA Today

It was recently reported that the governors of four states announced plans Monday to lift statewide mask requirements in schools by the end of February or March, citing the rapid easing of COVID-19′s omicron surge.The decisions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and Oregon were announced as state and local governments grapple with which virus restrictions to jettison and which ones to keep in place.

The changes also come amid a growing sense that the virus is never going to go away and Americans need to find a way to coexist with it. And it was noted by some observers that blue-state leaders were moving to act in favor of relaxing COVID restrictions ahead of a midterm election cycle in which several polls suggest Dems may incur heavy losses, perhaps losing control of one or both chambers of Congress. One reason Republicans are gaining traction: concern over overly restrictive and protracted pandemic mandates.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called the move “a huge step back to normalcy for our kids” and said individual school districts will be free to continue requiring masks after the state mandate ends March 7.

Meanwhile, California announced plans to end its indoor masking requirement for vaccinated people next week, but masks will still be the rule for schoolchildren in the nation’s most populous state.

The four states are among a dozen with mask mandates in schools, according to the nonpartisan National Academy for State Health Policy. New Jersey’s requirement has been in place since classes resumed in person in September 2020.

Murphy cited the “dramatic decline in our COVID numbers” in announcing the rollback. The omicron variant fueled a spike in infections over the holidays, but cases in the state are down 50% and hospitalizations dropped off by one-third since last week, he said.

“We are not — and I’ve said this many times — going to manage COVID to zero,” the governor said. “We have to learn how to live with COVID as we move from a pandemic to an endemic phase of this virus.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont recommended ending the statewide mandate in schools and child care centers on Feb. 28. Delaware Gov. John Carney said his state’s school mask mandate will run through March.

Oregon’s mask requirements for schools will be lifted March 31. The statewide mask requirement for indoor public places will be lifted no later than the end of March, health officials announced.

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