Here’s a shocker: All Dems support Murphy mask mandate; all Republicans reject it

After Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that all students and personnel in grades K-12 would be required to wear face coverings this fall, he made one plea:

Let’s keep politics out of this, he said.

That didn’t quite work.

Within hours — if not minutes — of his announcement, dozens of statements came out. All Democrats liked the decision; all Republicans disliked it.


That being said, here’s a look at some of the comments:


State Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Sparta):

“We have heard from experts that masks can do more harm than good for schoolchildren. Masks have a definite impact on education and interfere with a student’s ability to communicate effectively in the classroom. It feels like we’re rolling back the clock to more than a year ago, but situations are much different.”

Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Sparta):

“We all knew when the Democrats passed that watered-down bill to ‘end the emergency’ that there were enough loopholes in it to allow the governor to do almost whatever he wanted to do.”

Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Sparta):

“School boards have been hearing from students and parents in public meetings for months, yet they have been tossed aside in the decision-making. Local districts are in the best position to make these decisions, and they should be allowed to do their job. We know children are the least at risk for this virus and the most at risk for the long-term negative effects on mental health that all these mandates could cause.”

State Sen. Michael Testa and Assemblymen Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan (all R-Cape May Court House):

“The last thing we need is Trenton to swoop in and order our children to mask up for the first day of school. Children have been used as pawns in this game before, and we know the damage masks have done to their psyche and their educational and personal development.

“The data shows that schoolchildren are not super-spreaders, and classrooms don’t fuel outbreaks. We won’t stand down and allow the Murphy administration to steal one more day from our children by forcing them to surrender to unneeded and ineffective face protection.”


State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark):

“As COVID cases continue to rise, I am relieved to hear that masks will be required within schools across the state. Masks are our first line of defense against this virus, and this will be critical in protecting our students, educators, support staff and their families this fall.”

State Sen. Joe Vitale (D-Woodbridge):

“We learned over parts of the last two academic years that distance learning, or remote learning, is not always conducive to the best learning for New Jersey school students. No one wants to see school doors closed come September, and this mask mandate will at least allow on-site learning and give some semblance of normality to the learning environment. This is the right call and safe call, even if it is unpopular with some. The surge of the Delta variant has put us in a position where measures like this must be taken in order to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff alike, while also achieving learning objectives.”

Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Delran):

“We must continue to follow the science, take every precaution, and keep all the residents of New Jersey safe. This is a common-sense decision on the part of Gov. Murphy. This safety requirement will allow students to safely learn from their teachers in face-to-face settings and receive an education with all the resources that a school has to offer. Our shared duty requires us to focus on saving lives.”

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Voorhees):

“The governor’s decision to mandate masks for students, teachers and staff this fall is one that will not only allow our children to attend school in-person, but will also help save lives. COVID-positive cases are rising in New Jersey and the Delta variant is rapidly growing. Masks have proven to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”