ROXBURY, NJ — The mandatory wearing of face masks while at school in Roxbury is a thing of the past.

The directive came Tuesday afternoon from Roxbury Schools Superintendent Loretta Radulic. It came on the heels of her Monday announcement in which she said the wearing of masks was optional inside Roxbury schools for Monday and Tuesday of this week — due to the current heat wave.

“Yesterday, I shared a Honeywell message stating that masks would be optional for today and tomorrow due to extreme heat conditions,” said Radulic’s follow-up letter of today. “After visiting classrooms, speaking to our local health officials, reviewing CDC guidelines, and noting the Governor’s most recent communication giving school districts the ability to relax mask requirements, the decision is clear. Masking will remain optional for the rest of the school year.”

The superintendent acknowledged there are only 12 days left in the year. She also noted that families uncomfortable with having children in rooms with un-masked students would be able to “transition” their children to fully-virtual instruction.

Numbers Looking Good

Radulic stressed that other COVID-19 protocols are staying in effect, including daily completion of the rSchoolToday app, handwashing, social distancing and staying at home when “exhibiting symptoms of illness.”

She pointed out that 65 percent of Morris County’s residents are vaccinated, adding that the county is “nearly at ‘herd immunity’” due to that level of vaccination.

“In three of the last four days in Roxbury, there have been no new cases,” the superintendent said. “Today, there were two that were not related to our school district.”

Radulic also said her Tuesday missive will probably be her last relating to COVID-19. Her first was sent on Sunday, March 8, 2020, when Radulic announced Roxbury schools were closing early the following Tuesday so that teachers could be trained in ways to teach students remotely should a COVID-19 outbreak force the closure of schools.

Five days later, on March 13, 2020, the superintendent announced a 2-week school closure that was eventually extended.

In today’s letter she said she is “greatly appreciative of the cooperation of this community,” during the long ordeal. “It further illustrates our commitment to being Roxbury Strong and Roxbury Resilient together,” she added. “I wish you all a healthy, rejuvenating and healing summer.”

Radulic's decision to make masks optional for the rest of the year might have been prompted by a letter-writing campaign from some parents urging her to do so. That campaign was promoted on the popular Roxbury Schools Parent Group page on Facebook.

“While Ms. Radulic may have ultimately made this decision regardless of our emails, I'm certain your emails certainly did have an impact,” wrote site administrator Lisa Millus on the page. “As we move forward, please remember to have a conversation with your child that other students may continue to wear masks for different reasons. We will respect that individual choice. Our position all along has been individual choice.”

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