Paterson drops school mask mandate

Beginning next week, the Paterson School District will no longer require students to wear masks indoors.

The district introduced the mask mandate just over a week ago in response to the so-called "tripledemic" of rising cases of COVID-19, RSV, and influenza.

Eileen Shafer, the Superintendent of the Paterson School District said that after speaking with their health director and looking at data, they decided to once again make masks optional.

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"We had 32 (cases) when we first came back and then things started to go down. We had 12, then we had 7," Shafer said. "We put guidelines out that respect everyone's privacy and everyone's decision. If they want to use a mask, then that's up to them."

School district officials say they'll continue to monitor cases but in the meantime, students and faculty should do what makes them feel the most comfortable.

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Meanwhile, the New York City Department of Health put out an advisory Friday urging New Yorkers to wear masks indoors, saying that the latest omicron variant spreading is the most transmissible one yet.

Medical experts continue to advise getting the latest booster and masking in crowded areas for the best protection.