Mask optional, no contact tracing at Watchung Hills High School

WARREN, NJ — Watchung Hills Regional High School will transition to a mask-optional policy and cease contracting effective March 7, the district announced.

“I am very happy to see all of the beautiful smiling faces of our staff and students on March 7th and all of our board members again, so it will be very enjoyable,” Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth C. Jewett said on Tuesday, February 15 School Council meeting.

Jewett noted that the changes, however, could always change at the high school which serves students in Warren, Watchung, Green Brook and Long Hill.

“We are confident in this approach given the minimal number of cases we and the region have seen in recent weeks. We will of course continue to monitor cases, and if conditions change we will pivot again, adjusting our guidelines accordingly,” Jewett said.

Board Chairman Robert Morrison noted that the district has been able to remain open throughout the pandemic, including the ramp-up of Omicron due to adjustments on their part.

“The health, safety and well-being of the student, faculty, staff and administration were our top priority in making any decisions. That remains true today,” Morrison said during Of the reunion. “As we take these steps to move into the next phase of the pandemic, we cannot give any guarantees as to what may happen in the future.”

The decisions follow Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement last week that the statewide term will end on March 7, but left it up to school districts and child care centers to decide whether they want to. continue to require masks afterwards if they wish. Read more: Schools can extend mask mandate, but NJ requirement ends in March

People who choose to wear masks can continue to do so. Murphy will extend New Jersey’s state of public health emergency for another month to allow schools to adapt.

“Our students and staff have shown incredible adaptability and courage,” Jewett said. “Although this is a difficult time, we have kept and will continue to keep the health and safety of our students and their academic and social-emotional well-being as our central objective.”

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