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5141.10 Face Coverings


Northfield, New Jersey


X Mandated

Policy X Other Reasons


Pursuant to Governor Murphy’s announcement that the state mandate requiring in-school universal masking would expire on March 7, 2022, the District has decided to make the wearing of masks optional while in the school building or on a school bus, regardless of vaccination status, for all staff and students effective on that date.

Executive Order 253 has declared that as of October 18, 2021, all staff members who are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 must receive the vaccine or be subject to routine COVID-19 testing. Executive Order 253 also applies to contracted employees, vendors, providers and any other individuals working in the schools where regular visits to the schools are part of the individual’s job duties, including volunteers.

According to N.J.S.A. 26:13-3, the Governor of the State has the authority to declare a public health emergency. According to N.J.S.A. App.A:9-33, the purpose of the Civilian Defense and Disaster Control Act is to “provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of New Jersey and to aid in the prevention of damage to and the destruction of property during any emergency … by prescribing a course of conduct for the civilian population….” According to N.J.S.A. App.A:9-40, public officials are required to fully cooperate with the Governor in all matters affecting any declared emergency and may not take any action that conflicts with or impedes Executive Order 253.

Face Coverings

Staff, students, and visitors are not required to wear face coverings, but may do so if they so choose.

The District will adhere to New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) recommendations and reserves the right to require masks in the following circumstances:

  1. During periods of elevated community transmission – when COVID-19 Activity Level Index (CALI) is elevated, NJDOH recommends universal masking in regions with:
    1. CALI score of high (orange) – schools should strongly consider universal masking for all students and staff, especially if there is difficulty incorporating other layered strategies (e.g. adequate ventilation, adequate spacing of students)
    2. CALI score of very high (Red) – school should require universal masking for all students and staff.
  2. During an active outbreak – during an outbreak or a general increase in cases, schools should consult with their LHD as to whether short-term universal masking or masking in affected classrooms should be required to control the outbreak/increase in cases.
  3. After returning from isolation or quarantine – students and staff who return to school during days 6-10 of isolation or quarantine should be required to mask.
  4. When illness occurs in school – students or staff who become ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while in school should wear a mask until they leave the premises.

Social Distancing During a Pandemic

The district shall ensure that social distancing within the schools and classrooms is maintained to the maximum extent practicable. This will be achieved by ensuring students are seated at least three feet apart. When conditions such as space in the classroom or other areas of the school make a physical distance of three feet difficult or impossible to maintain, additional modifications shall be implemented. These include but are not limited to turning desks to face the same direction (rather than facing each other) or having students sit on only one side of the table, spaced apart. During times of higher community transmission of the COVID-19 virus, the district may increase the physical distance up to six feet.

Any modifications that are made to school district facilities shall be in coordination with local code officials and Department county offices to ensure that alterations adhere to school safety requirements.

Social distancing practices shall be maintained on school buses (at least three feet of distance between riders) to the maximum extent practicable (see board policy 3541.33 Transportation Safety). 

  1. Screening and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
  2. Adequate amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) shall be available, accessible, and provided for use by staff and students.
  3. The principal or his or her designee shall develop a school entry plan that includes:
  4. Designated entrances that will be used to admit students;
  5. The assignment of classes and grades to designated entrances and/or designated entrance times;
  6. Health checks must be conducted safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations;
  7. Results must be documented when signs/symptoms of COVID-19 are observed;
  8. Screening procedures shall take into account students with disabilities and accommodations that may be needed in the screening process for those students;
  9. Procedures for symptomatic staff and students:
  10. The school principal shall establish an isolation space;
  11. Students and staff with symptoms related to COVID-19 shall be safely and respectfully isolated from others. Students should remain in isolation with continued supervision and care until picked up by an authorized adult;
  12. The current Communicable Disease Service guidance for illness reporting shall be followed;
  13. If a staff member becomes aware that an individual who has spent time in a district facility tests positive for COVID-19, the staff members shall notify the principal and the school nurse. The school nurse shall immediately notify local health officials, staff, and families of a confirmed case while maintaining confidentiality;
  14. Preparations for when someone tests positive for COVID-19:
  15. The school principal shall establish an isolation space;
  16. Students and staff with symptoms related to COVID-19 shall be safely and respectfully taken to the designated isolation space and isolated from others. Students should remain in isolation with continued supervision and care until picked up by an authorized adult;
  17. Students or staff who become ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while in school should wear a mask until they leave the premises.
  18. The current Communicable Disease Service guidance for illness reporting shall be followed;
  19. Readmittance to school shall be consistent with Department of Health guidance and information for schools and Department of Health/Communicable Disease Service’s Quick Reference Guidance on Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Home Isolation for Persons Diagnosed with COVID-19;
  20. Protocols to address a positive case:

Students and employees will be asked to leave or not come into school if they test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, based on CDC guidance. Currently, the symptoms are:

  • At least two of the following symptoms: fever (measure or subjective), chills, rigors (shivers), myalgia (muscle aches), headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, congestion, or runny nose; OR
  • At least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new olfactory disorder, or new taste disorder.

Adopted: September 27, 2021

NJSBA Review/Update: March 2022


Key Words

Immunizations, Inoculations, Examinations, Pupil Physical Examinations, Student Physical Examinations, Health


The CDC recently issued updated guidance regarding considerations for wearing face coverings and how it can help slow the spread of COVID-19. Schools should refer to this guidance as it includes details regarding who should and should not wear a face covering:

Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools | CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Your Guide to Masks” at: Your Guide to Masks | CDC

NJDOE School Reopening Frequently Asked Questions at: https://www.nj.gov/education/reopening/faqs/#sd

NJDOE Update to Conditions of Learning, Health and Safety, “Critical Area of Operation #5: Screening, PPE, and Response to Students and Staff Presenting Symptoms” and “Critical Area of Operation #3: Transportation https://nj.gov/education/reopening/updates/docs/RestartUpdateFacecoverings080320.pdf

“Physical Distancing, face coverings, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis;” September 21, 2020. D.K. Chu, S. Duda, K. Solo, S. Yaacoub, and H. Schunemann. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7503118/

Legal References: N.J.S.A. 18A:35‑4.6

through ‑4.8 Parents Right to Conscience Act of 1979

N.J.S.A. 18A:40‑4 Examination for physical defects and screening of hearing of pupils; health records

N.J.S.A. 18A:40‑4.4 Exemption

N.J.S.A. 18A:40‑4.5 Immunity from action of any kind due to provisions of act

N.J.S.A. 18A:40‑5 Method of examination; notice to parent or guardian

N.J.S.A. 18A:40‑6 In general

N.J.S.A. 18A:40‑7, ‑8,

‑10, ‑11 Exclusion of pupils who are ill

N.J.S.A. 18A:40‑12.37 Release to share medical information

N.J.S.A. 18A:40‑20 Immunization at public expense

N.J.S.A. 26:1A‑9.1 Exemption of pupils from mandatory immunizations

N.J.S.A. 26:4‑6 Prohibiting attendance of teachers or pupils

N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.4 Evaluation

N.J.A.C. 6A:16-1.1et seq. Programs to Support Student Development

See particularly:

N.J.A.C. 6A:16-1.1, -1.3,

-2.1, -2.2, -2.3, -2.4

N.J.A.C. 8:57‑4.3 Medical exemptions

N.J.A.C. 8:57‑4.4 Religious exemptions

N.J.A.C. 8:57-4.5 Provisional admission

N.J.A.C. 8:57‑4.7 Records required

N.J.A.C. 8:57‑4.8 Reports to be sent to the State Department of Health

N.J.A.C. 8:57‑4.9 Records available for inspection

N.J.A.C. 8:57‑4.22 Emergency power of the Commissioner, Department of

Health and Senior

20 U.S.C.A. 1232h Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment

Executive Order No. 251, Governor Philip D. Murphy, August 6, 2021.


Executive Order No. 253, Governor Philip D. Murphy, August 23, 2021.


The NJDOE Guidance: The Road Back: Restart and Recovery at:


The NJDOE Guidance: The Road Forward: Health and Safety Guidance for the 2021-

2022 School Year at: The Road Forward (nj.gov)


Cross References: *1410 Local units

*4123 Classroom aides

*5111 Admission

*5113 Absences and excuses

*5131.6 Drugs, alcohol, tobacco (substance abuse)

*5141 Health

*5141.21 Administering medication

*5200 Nonpublic school pupils

*6142.4 Physical education and health

*6145.1/6145.2 Intramural competition; interscholastic competition

*6162.5 Research

*6164.4 Child study team

*6171.4 Special education

*Indicates policy is included in the Critical Policy Reference Manual.