NJ Schools Will Be Required to Provide Full-Time, In-Person Instruction

PLUS: More Pandemic-related guidelines lifted.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced today that Executive Order 175, which allowed school districts to provide remote instruction under certain circumstances during the 2020-2021 academic year, will expire at the end of the current school year. 

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

The announcement removes the option for full-time remote learning for families.

“We are facing a much different world than one year ago,” Murphy said. “We know much more about this virus and how it spreads, we have much more experience on the ground fighting it, and we have a robust vaccination program that now reaches adolescents as young as 12 years old.”

He added that in the event of a localized outbreak, the state will act accordingly, but other than that, academic buildings will be fully open.

Travel Advisory Lifted

Separately, the state has also lifted its travel advisory, which required travelers to New Jersey to quarantine upon arrival.

“We do encourage everyone to continue to exercise common sense when travelling domestically and to follow all health and safety protocols wherever you are travelling to,” Murphy said. “And, if your goal is international travel, adhere to international travel guidance and advisories from the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

Public Health Emergency to End

These announcements come after Murphy extended the state’s public health emergency for what he said, “should be the final time.”

“Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and I, along with their teams are working towards a legislative solution that will allow the public health emergency to expire next month, while at the same time providing a path forward to ensure that we maintain the necessary tools to protect the public’s health and safety for the duration of the pandemic,” Murphy said.

The current public health emergency was first declared on March 9, 2020.

Mask or No Mask?

Finally, Murphy addressed the state’s mask requirements, stating that individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, must continue to wear a mask in public indoor spaces, including stores and restaurants. He did, however, announce that the state is lifting its outdoor mask mandate.

“The majority of New Jerseyans are unvaccinated. We are not checking anyone’s vaccination status when you go to the store, and it is unfair to put the burden on business owners and frontline employees to police every patron,” Murphy said. “The best thing we can do for now – and this is not forever and always – is to keep our indoor mask mandate in place in public settings to protect you, your family, the workers and the entire community.”

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