BREAKING: New Jersey Schools Would Stay Closed; Start The Year “All-Remote” Under Proposed Bill
All schools in New Jersey should start the 2020-2021 year with all remote education, at least that’s what a new piece of legislation is calling for today.
The bill, which is sponsored by state assembly democrats Mila Jasey, Pamela Lampitt, and Joann Downey, calls for schools to remain closed this fall.
This goes against the plan introduced by Governor Murphy and the state Department of Education earlier this summer. That plan calls for all school districts to offer at least some in-person education this school year.
The proposed bill keeps schools closed through at least October. It says that beginning October 31, 2020, reopening schools for in-person instruction would be evaluated on a monthly basis by the Governor, the Commissioner of Education, and the state's Commissioner of Health.
Reopening would ultimately be contingent upon a number of factors, including New Jersey’s phased reopening and public health data on the spread of COVID-19.
“The reality is the pandemic isn’t over. School is set to begin in just a few weeks, and it is not clear that a safe and comfortable environment can be maintained for students and staff,” democrats state assemblywoman Mila Jasey says. “As a former Board of Education member and a public health nurse, I understand that New Jersey has made strong progress in combating COVID-19, but reopening schools for in-person instruction would feel like a step backward at this time.”
In June, Governor Murphy announced that the state’s school districts needed to present reopening plans to the state’s education department by early August. However, educators (including the teachers’ unions) across the state have voiced concerns for their safety if in-person education resumes this fall.
It’s not clear how much support the bill has in the state’s Legislature at this point. The measure would need to be approved by the full Legislature and the state Senate before it would head to Governor Murphy for a signature.
Governor Murphy did not directly comment on the bill, however, he emphasized his hopes for in-person education to resume this fall during his daily coronavirus press conference.
“In-person education dwarfs any remote learning in terms of the efficacy and the richness of that experience,” Murphy said on Wednesday.