In a highly-criticized move, one of New Jersey’s largest school districts reinstated its mask mandate, citing a rise in local Covid-19 cases.

On Tuesday, Passaic Public Schools Superintendent Sandra Montanez-Diodonet informed the parents and staff that, on Wednesday, masks will be required for “all employees, Pre-K through grade 12 students, and visitors” in “all district facilities, school grounds, and buses.”

In the letter, Diodonet also said, “Please be advised that as per our Board Policy No. 5141.10, during periods of High Activity Level as published in the NJDOH COVID-19 Activity Level Report, mask-wearing is required.”

This letter was released after state health officials and the CDC labeled Passaic County as having reached “high” community levels of Covid-19.

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Corey A. DeAngelis, a senior fellow at the American Federation for Children and executive director at Education Freedom Institute, commented on the school district’s tweet about the mask mandate notice. DeAngelis mocked the decision, saying, “two weeks to slow the spread has turned into 2.75 years to flatten a generation.”

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Another Twitter user, Nicholas Austin, said, “I like that they’re public about the child abuse.”

Former media executive at Live Science, John W. DeFeo, also replied to the tweet by Passaic Schools, saying, “Is the school district aiming to teach children that superstition is more powerful than objective, scientific reality? That medical ethics are no longer necessary. That narcissistic abuse is to be tolerated? What is the lesson, Passaic Public Schools?”

In a statement to Fox News, Parents Defending Education condemned the district for continuing to negatively impact its students’ socialization and learning abilities. The group said, “For two years, parents witnessed the detrimental social effects that masks had on their children’s lives – which included difficulty building relationships with others because of an inability to read facial expressions, as well as generalized anxiety regarding crowds and proximity to others (to say nothing of the impact on educational achievement, such as reading and language comprehension problems).”

“Families are still dealing with the fallout from these policies, and will be doing so for years to come – so for districts across the country to yet again unilaterally impose mask mandates on suffering children defies logic. Different families have different levels of risk tolerance, and should anyone desire to have their children masked, they should be free to do so – but not mandated.”

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