TRENTON, N.J. – Before Gov. Phil Murphy mandates masks in schools today, Assemblyman Brian Bergen has a message: Mandating masks in schools has more negatives than positives.
“What I am hearing is that mandating masks makes things more difficult for everyone,” said Bergen (R-Morris), a parent of two school-age children and the husband of a teacher.
“The governor’s new mandate and the CDC recommendations are looking at the issue from only one angle,” continued Bergen. “They are not considering the damage to our kid’s emotional wellbeing. We need to add that element, and when we do, the answer is no mandatory masking in schools. The long-term harm to kids from masking is psychologically enormous and disrupts learning.”
Experts have raised legitimate concerns that the risks of masking outweigh the potential benefits for children, because masking children can negatively impact communication, learning, emotional and social development.
Bergen has been critical of the governor’s unchecked unilateral powers since the beginning of the pandemic and introduced legislation to rein in the governor’s executive order authority. His bill (A4147) would force all emergency executive orders to expire after 14 days without an extension granted by the Legislature, which was moved six times for a vote but rejected by Democrats. Instead, Democrats rushed through a bill codifying Murphy’s ability to use his powers through the end of the year before breaking for the summer and fall elections.
“The state Legislature is on a ‘break’ while Governor Murphy continues to rule with no oversight. It is very undemocratic,” concluded Bergen.