Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 288 on Feb. 10, which will extend the public health emergency declared Jan. 11 by Executive Order No. 280 for 30 days, according to a New Jersey Department of Health news release.

The governor had announced his intention to extend the public health emergency Feb. 7.

The public health emergency allows the state to continue vaccine distribution, vaccination or testing requirements in certain settings, the collection of COVID-19 data, implementation of any applicable recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent or limit the transmission of COVID-19, staffing and resource allocation and other critical components of the state’s COVID-19 response.

It also extends the school mask mandate until March 7, at which point the order will expire, allowing districts to make their own decisions about masking based on local health conditions. Refer to last week’s article in School Board Notes for more information.

The governor could renew the executive order under the Emergency Health Powers Act, but that is unlikely based on his previous comments and the continuing decline in COVID-19 cases throughout New Jersey.

However, state COVID-19 metrics will be reevaluated at the time of expiration to determine if an extension will be needed, according to the NJDOH.

For a copy of Executive Order No. 288, click here.