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NJ school COVID outbreaks ‘not as significant as you might imagine’: health commissioner

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NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — Though New Jersey continues to report thousands of positive COVID-19 cases and high hospital admissions, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli defended the state’s decision not to have a statewide remote option for schools.

“We need as much as we can to keep kids in schools,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli told PIX on Politics host Dan Mannarino on Sunday.

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Though several school districts are moving away due to the rise in positivity, Persichilli said the state has over 3,000 school buildings but only a small number of them are closed due to outbreaks.

“I appreciate that when transmission is high, people are concerned about sending children to school, but we’re finding that our outbreaks at school aren’t as severe as you might imagine,” she said.

But she acknowledged that about 520,000 children are unvaccinated because they are under five and they mix with children in schools who may be infected.

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The health commissioner said she firmly believes masking in schools protects children’s safety.

“Masks are effective,” she said.

The Garden State is currently seeing about 20,000 positive cases per day.

Persichilli said she hopes the state is on the “other side of the mountain” and will see continued decline, but will “remain very vigilant”.

When asked why the state hasn’t gone further to mandate boosters or take more action, Persichilli said the state believes in bringing these decisions closer to the people because they will be the ones who will live with them.

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