Murphy says schools will resume mandatory in-person instruction this fall

Governor said all-remote or hybrid learning will not be an option for schools or parents

Remote learning will no longer be an option, starting in the fall, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.

The option for remote instruction, which was given by executive order Aug. 13, 2020, gave schools a choice of all in-person, all-remote and hybrid education this school year — with most choosing some type of hybrid option.

Murphy said schools can no longer offer that option — nor can parents request it, unless there is a change in the public health situation tied to COVID-19 next fall.

“Neatly stated, 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,” Murphy said. “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.”

Murphy said the decrease in metrics related to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as an increase in understanding of how the virus spreads — not to mention the vaccination efforts — led to the decision.

As time moves forward, we’ll gain more knowledge, and more tools, Murphy said.

He also quoted Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who said the country won’t be fully back until students are fully back in schools.

“We know that we can get back fully in-person safely, with the right protocols in place, and that is what we should all be planning to do,” he said. “Of course, we will continue to follow the science, and, should there be a localized outbreak or other emergency, we will act accordingly. Otherwise, buildings will be fully open.”

No more travel restrictions

People coming in or going out of the state for business or pleasure no longer will be subject to quarantine restrictions, effective immediately, Murphy said.

Murphy said he encourages everyone to continue to exercise common sense when traveling domestically and to follow all local health and safety protocols wherever you are traveling — and notes that those coming and going from international destinations should follow guidance and advisories posted by the U.S. Department of State.

Health metrics

As of Monday morning:

  • Fully vaccinated: 3,867,148;
  • Rate of transmission: 0.59;
  • Positivity rate: 2.73%;
  • In hospitals: 827;
  • In ICU: 188;
  • On ventilators: 125.

Murphy said the state is hitting lows it hasn’t seen in months.

  • Admissions: 70;
  • Departures: 111;
  • Deaths: 18.

“Let those last two numbers — admissions and in-hospital deaths — be reminders that there are still unvaccinated people falling ill enough that they are requiring hospitalization,” he said.