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March 26, 2020

New Jersey schools to remain closed through April 17, Gov. Murphy says

Education Coronavirus
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New Jersey schools will remain closed through at least April 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Phil Murphy stressed that the decision to reopen schools is his alone.

All New Jersey schools will remain closed through at least April 17 – and a decision to reopen schools will not be revisited any sooner, Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday.

Murphy ordered all New Jersey public and private schools to close last week until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision to reopen them will be his alone, he said.

“I’m aware that some school districts have begun advising families as to when they anticipate reopening,” Murphy said. “Let me be perfectly clear on this: that decision rests with yours truly. We will not be prepared to revisit the closure until at least April 17th. The decision to reopen will be based on careful discussion with our public health and safety experts, and with our educators and districts and will be guided by the facts on the ground.”

April 17 marks the final day of spring break for many public and private schools.

“We will not do this piecemeal,” Murphy said. “We will do this together.”

On Monday, Murphy hinted at the possibility that schools will remain closed “for a long and extended period of time” in order to “ensure that every student is taken care of."

The state announced on Tuesday that all standardized testing scheduled for this spring in New Jersey has been canceled. New Jersey has since applied for a federal waiver to cancel the computerized exams that were scheduled to begin on April 20. Murphy expects that the waiver will be approved.

The New Jersey Student Learning Assessment, which used to be known as the PARCC, is a test taken by students from third grade through high school each spring to examine their proficiency in English and math.

The exam is used to measure student achievement in the classroom and meet both state and federal education standards. It also determines and impacts state and federal aid to school districts.

High school seniors are required to pass the test in order to graduate, but Murphy said that canceling the exams will not prevent seniors from receiving their diplomas this year.

New Jersey has 6,876 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 81 deaths due, as of Thursday afternoon. Only New York has more. South Jersey has 194 coronavirus cases.

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