New Jersey schools, colleges can reopen for in-person education: governor

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(Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Wednesday he signed an executive order clearing both public and private schools, pre-K through 12th grade, and colleges and universities to reopen for in-person instruction in the upcoming academic year.

“We have held ongoing discussions with the leaders throughout our higher education system and we believe they are ready for this step,” Murphy told a news conference.

The governor said the decision on whether to implement in-person or remote learning, or a mixed approach, rested with the state’s nearly 600 public school districts as well as charter, parochial and other institutions.

School districts that can’t meet all the health and safety standards put in place by the New Jersey Department of Education required for in-person instruction will begin the school year with all-remote learning, Murphy said.

On June 26, the governor announced that the state’s public schools will reopen “in some capacity” for the coming academic year.

Last week, he announced that almost all students will be required to wear masks while inside school buildings in the state.

Reporting by Maria Caspani, additional reporting by Peter Szekely, Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Nick Zieminski