New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that the state will give parents the option of choosing “all-remote learning” for their children for the upcoming school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Murphy, in a tweet Friday, wrote: “Today, @NewJerseyDOE is releasing guidance to make clear that giving the parents the option of choosing all-remote learning for their children for the upcoming school year should be allowed by school districts as part of their reopening plans.”
Murphy shared a graphic that stated: “Parents and guardians have the option to choose all-remote learning for their children for the upcoming school year.”
“Our top priority is keeping students, their families, and educators safe,” Murphy tweeted. “To do that, flexibility, local decision making, and empowering parents and educators are critical.”
Murphy went on to say that parents having the option to choose all-remote learning for their children will “help decrease student density” within schools, and allow classroom spaces to “stretch further” and “ensure proper social distancing for other students and staff."
Murphy stressed that the guidance, which the state Department of Education rolled out Friday, is providing districts with “even greater flexibility.”
“We’re not mandating any one specific way to move forward,” he added.
Murphy noted that the new school year is just “six weeks away,” and said the state will continue to follow public health data through the rest of July and August.
He said the state will continue to assess the “realities” of the COVID-19 virus and how it “may impact schools’ plans broadly.”
“We will make changes in real-time if needed,” he said.
Murphy’s announcement comes as states across the nation begin to reimagine what the 2020-2021 school year will look like amid the coronavirus pandemic. Regions have begun introducing plans that offer a part-time remote learning option, with the other part of the week in the classroom.
As of Friday, New Jersey reported more than 180,000 positive cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic and more than 15,700 deaths.