By: Olivia Armstrong, Writer / Follow South Jersey News Reporting Intern
TRENTON, N.J. — Governor Phil Murphy announced this week that schools will be required to offer students full-time, in-person instruction during the 2021-22 academic year, paving the way for traditional schooling to return after a year-and-a-half of schools utilizing remote and/or hybrid learning.
Gov. Murphy announced that remote learning will no longer be offered as a primary method next school year. The 2021-22 school year will resemble the normal school model seen prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, schools will be allowed to offer remote learning in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak or other emergency.
“When schools across New Jersey first closed their doors in March of last year, little was known about COVID-19 and how it spread. But over a year has passed, and we are now facing a very different reality,” Gov. Murphy said in a statement. “With our health metrics trending decisively in the right direction, the significant progress we have made in our vaccination effort, and vaccines now available to those as young as 12, we are in a position to get our students back into the classroom full-time come fall.”
Gov. Murphy’s decision to reopen schools doesn’t impact summer programs and camps, which will still be required to follow health and safety protocols as long as they’re in place. New Jersey has rolled back many of its COVID-19-related safety restrictions, including capacity limits at restaurants and other indoor businesses, and many schools in the state have resumed full-time in-person instruction anyways.
At this time, wearing masks is still mandated indoors by the state of New Jersey, but this may change by the time the 2021-22 academic year begins in the fall.