All students and teachers will return to NJ classrooms in the fall
Schools will return to full-time, in-person classes after this summer, as Gov. Phil Murphy said his executive order allowing for optional remote instruction would expire at the end of the current school year.
Monday's announcement clears up a bit of waffling, as Murphy had previously said in March that all students were expected to be back in school for the 2021-2022 school year.
That was quickly backtracked within a week to "some virtual" instruction options, as some local teachers' unions continued to voice reluctance to commit to in-person attendance.
In announcing the definitive change at Monday's state briefing, Murphy noted that the recent FDA approval for 12- to 15-year-olds to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine would help protect school communities.
He also noted that the likelihood of the vaccine being OK'd for an even wider age range was strong, based on ongoing trials by the vaccine makers.
Various school districts and local and county health departments and hospitals had offered educator vaccine clinics in the weeks leading up to the state's now readily available supply of COVID vaccines, for which an appointment is often no longer necessary.
As of May 10, just over 90% of the state's schools or districts were operating on hybrid or all in-person instruction, as 13 schools or districts remained on all-remote models, Murphy previously announced.
For a handful of districts, the lack of any in-person instruction for nearly a year and a half has been an urgent issue for families concerned with "learning loss" as well as the mental health of students.