N.J. sending 2.4M masks to schools as coronavirus cases surge, Murphy says

Posted Nov 09, 2020

More than two million masks will be distributed to schools statewide to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.

The 2.4 million masks, provided by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, will be made available to students, teachers and other staff members at more than 800 schools, both public and private. That also includes charter schools, renaissance school projects and approved private schools for students with disabilities, Murphy said.

The distribution of the masks will be prioritized to schools in low-income areas and those that serve high-needs populations, the governor added. Masks will be provided by the New Jersey State Police through Nov. 20.

There have been 146 cases of COVID-19 linked to 36 school outbreaks as of Monday, according to the state Department of Health.

State officials have not released the names of the schools or any details about how students and school staff members transmitted the coronavirus in classrooms or at other school activities while all districts are supposed to be observing strict social distancing and mask requirements.

This is the latest effort by the state to stop a surge in cases in what Murphy has declared a “second wave” of the virus.

On Monday, Murphy also unveiled new restrictions on bars, restaurants and indoor youth sports.

New Jersey bars and restaurants will need to close all daily indoor service by 10 p.m. beginning Thursday and all indoor interstate organized sports up to the high school level will also be off-limits.

Seating at indoor bars will be banned altogether. Bars and restaurants, however, will be able to seat groups of people at tables closer than six feet together as long as they are separated by plexiglass barriers and they can set up outdoor igloos for individual groups as colder weather approaches.

Indoor interstate sports will end for elementary, middle and high school students. The new restrictions won’t affect college or professional sports.

The latest regulations will be announced as new COVID-19 cases have surged in the Garden State to the highest levels since late April and early May. The governor has recently all but assured that new restrictions would be announced soon.

Monday marked the sixth straight day with more than 2,000 new daily cases. On Monday, officials reported 2,075 more cases and 11 additional deaths. The seven day average for new daily positive tests is now 2,276, up 40% from a week earlier.

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published this page in News and Politics 2020-11-10 03:16:20 -0800