the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, in a change of policy Governor Phil Murphy has decided School Districts that cannot meet state Department of Education standards will have the option of going completely remote. The governor’s decision largely leaves the issue in the hands of local districts as New Jersey continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis.
Prior to Wednesday’s scheduled briefing by Governor Phil Murphy, Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, Patricia Wright, executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and Marie Blistan, president of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), issued this statement calling on Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education to direct all New Jersey public schools to open remotely this fall:
“For months, New Jersey educators and administrators have been working tirelessly to find a way to safely bring students back into school buildings in September. Now, with less than a month remaining before schools are scheduled to reopen, it is time to reluctantly acknowledge that goal is simply not achievable. Reopening schools for in-person instruction under the current conditions poses too great a risk to the health of students and schools staff. The question of whether and when to reopen for in-person instruction is first and foremost a public health decision that cannot be left in the hands of nearly 600 individual school districts. The stakes are too high, and the consequences of a wrong decision are too grave. That is why we are calling on Gov. Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education to direct all New Jersey public schools to open remotely this fall. We fully support and share the governor’s goal of moving to in-person instruction as soon as the science and data say we can do so responsibly and when the resources are available in our school buildings to do it safely.”
Today’s briefing comes after weeks of speculation about a statewide plan and pressure from the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) on the governor to simply shut down in-person learning. Murphy already announced plans to give individual families the option of going remote.Key districts are already preparing for an all-remote plan, among them Jersey City and the City of Trenton. While it’s not a blanket remote learning for everyone, there will be conditions and districts will have to put a plan in place. This decision gives leeway to decision-making on the district level.