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N.J. Removes Remote School Option Next Year

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World|New Jersey’s governor removes the remote learning option for the next school year.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy said vaccinations, declining case rates and protocols wouldn’t require a virtual option.

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New Jersey Governor Removes Remote School Option

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey announced that public school students would no longer have the option to learn remotely starting in September. The governor said this was due to vaccinations, declining case rates and virus protocols.

Today, I am announcing that my executive order from last Aug. 13, which has allowed school districts to provide remote instruction under certain circumstances during the 2020-2021 academic year will expire at the end of this current school year. Through this action, we are declaring that all students will be back in school for full-time, in-person instruction come the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Further, this announcement also includes the removal of the full-time remote learning option for families. Next year, parents will not be enabled to broad-scale opt their child out of in-person instruction, as was allowed during this school year. We are facing a much different world than one year ago when we had to begin planning for this school year. We know much more about this virus and how it spreads. We have much more on-the-ground experience in fighting it and we have a robust vaccination program that now reaches adolescents as young as 12. My guess, Judy and Tina, that the vaccinations that are in trial will get, we’re going to see those, that age limit go down even further over time, hopefully sooner than later.

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Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey announced that public school students would no longer have the option to learn remotely starting in September. The governor said this was due to vaccinations, declining case rates and virus protocols.CreditCredit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

New Jersey’s public school students will no longer have the option to learn remotely starting in September.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, announced on Monday that he was rescinding an order that permitted families to choose to keep their children home for virtual instruction. It was a surprise announcement from a state where some of the largest school districts have not yet reopened to all students, and many families continue to keep their children home.

Many other states are still struggling with guidance for next year. In Massachusetts, remote learning options were eliminated last month for elementary and middle school students, and Connecticut won’t require schools to offer remote learning next school year.

“We are declaring that all students will be back in school for full-time, in-person instruction come the start of the 2021-2022 school year,” Mr. Murphy said.

He added, “Next year parents will not be enabled to broad scale opt their child out of in-person instruction as was allowed this school year.”

In explaining his decision, Mr. Murphy cited the ability of adults and children as young as 12 to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the declining rate of infection in New Jersey and an increased understanding about how the virus spreads. He also said it was possible that children younger than 12 would be eligible for vaccines before September.

New Jersey has recorded 1,263 cases of in-school transmission of the virus since schools began to reopen in September, according to the New Jersey Health Department. Less than 1 percent of the state’s K-12 students and teachers had a coronavirus case linked to in-school transmission, while the positivity rate among the general population was 11 percent.

“We know that we can get back fully in person, safely, with the right protocols in place,” the governor said.

Marie Blistan, president of the state’s largest teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association, a close ally of Mr. Murphy’s, said in a statement, “We hope and expect that all New Jersey public schools will safely open for full in-person instruction in the fall.”

But, she added, “There is still work to do to ensure that every student and staff member returns to a safe learning and working environment.”

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