TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has followed in the footsteps of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and closed public schools for the duration of the 2019-2020 school year. The move comes after Murphy was lobbied by educational groups who had formed a coalition to promote the closure of schools through June.
“This is a difficult decision and I know that many students, parents, and staff would like to be able to return to school,” Murphy said. “However, I have been unwavering on the message that we need to make decisions based on science, not emotion. And while New Jersey is making great strides in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, science tells us that at this point, we can’t safely re-open our schools.”
Last week, a coalition of public workers unions, administrative associations, PTO’s and the New Jersey School Board Association are lobbying Governor Phil Murphy to keep schools in the Garden State closed for the remained of the 2019-2020 school year. The group claimed reopening schools presents serious challenges that are far more complex than even those involved in closing schools and moving to online instruction. These include, but are certainly not limited to, readjusting curriculum, designing remediation for students who may have fallen behind during the closure, and accommodating social distancing and other preventive measures in the classroom, in cafeterias and gymnasiums, on school buses, and during extra-curricular activities.
“Our organizations, which represent all stakeholder groups in K-12 public education, are in complete agreement with the cautious, data-centered approach to reopening the state’s businesses and services as reflected in “The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health,” released on April 27. Considering the six principles/metrics in the plan and current data on the incidence of COVID-19, the LEE group does not believe that districts will be in the position to reopen during the current school year,” the coalition said. “We are especially concerned about recent statements indicating that schools may still reopen this spring. It sends a mixed message to students, parents and educators and is at odds with the sound reasoning behind “The Road Back” blueprint.”
#BREAKING: ALL SCHOOLS WILL REMAIN CLOSED for in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year – to protect the health of our children, our educators, and their families.
Guided by safety and science, this is the best course of action. pic.twitter.com/PI5xFxPlVZ
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 4, 2020