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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jun 26, 2020

BREAKING: NJ Schools to Open This Fall with Modifications

Gov. Phil Murphy announced today the state’s guidance in reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year.

The guidance that the governor has offered to all New Jersey public school districts includes implementing a hybrid of in-person and remote learning, with face coverings mandatory, as well as smaller class sizes.

The Department of Education surveyed approximately 50 education and community organizations, nearly 300,000 parents and guardians, and 300 superintendents across the state in order to build a learning plan for the fall.

Murphy said, “There is no one-size-fits-all approach that we could possibly take.”

He said the state must take into account the economic, geographic and demographic differences which exist among communities, leaving the implementation of effective strategies to meet the needs of the students, faculties and staff in the hands of the individual districts.

The governor laid out overall principles to follow in ensuring conducive atmosphere for learning, such as supporting educational leaders with planning, providing guidance/funding to schools, and securing continuity of learning.

“Social distancing will be our guiding principle,” Murphy said.

All faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear a face covering, while students will have to wear them when social distancing cannot be achieved. Class sizes will be limited to promote social distancing. Districts may rearrange school schedules to allow for grouping or cohorting of students while other children may continue remote learning. School districts should ensure that everyone student has a device and connectivity.

Murphy also noted that school bus drivers will be required to wear a mask and will enforce the use of mask for student bus riders when social distancing isn’t possible. School officials will be required to work with their district drivers to ensure all vehicles are properly cleaned on a daily basis

“We have every confidence that, come September, students will walk into the best public schools in the nation,” Murphy said.

All school districts will be mandated to share their preliminary plans one month prior to the first day of school to allow for families to make arrangements and schedules.

Districts must be prepared for the possibility that public health could require remote learning at any time.