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April 16, 2020

New Jersey schools closed another four weeks due to COVID-19 crisis

May 15 is the earliest students could go back, and that date is subject to potential additional delays, Gov. Murphy says

Education Coronavirus
New Jersey schools Feliphe Schiarolli/via Unsplash

New Jersey classrooms will remain empty until at least May 15 due to the COVID-19 crisis. Remote learning will continue.

New Jersey students won't be walking into a classroom for at least another four weeks.

All schools will remain closed through May 15 to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy announced during his daily briefing Thursday.

"We cannot be guided by emotion, we need to be guided by where the facts on the ground, science and public health take us," Murphy said. "And that means it will not be safe to reopen our schools or start sports back up for at lest another four weeks."

RELATED: Face masks, fever checks will be part of 'new normal' in New Jersey after coronavirus relents, Murphy predicts

Murphy held off on closing schools for the remainder of the academic year, as Pennsylvania has done. But he cautioned residents against reading too much into May 15 as a date to reopen society. Rather, the extension gives New Jersey one last chance to determine whether schools could reopen later this spring. 

Schools have been closed since March 18. Murphy previously said that they would remain that way until at least April 17, the final day of spring break for many schools. He emphasized that he would make the call on reopening schools – not individual school or districts.

Murphy had hinted several times this week that an announcement concerning the fate of schools was coming. 

All standardized testing scheduled for this spring was previously canceled. New Jersey received a federal waiver to cancel the computerized exams that were scheduled to begin Monday.

The cancellation of the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment, previously known as the PARCC, will not prevent high school seniors or eighth graders from receiving their diplomas this year. Additionally, the 2019-20 student assessment requirements have been waived for those same students. 

New Jersey had 71,030 COVID-19 cases, including 3,156 deaths, through Wednesday. North Jersey has been hit hardest by the coronavirus. South Jersey had 3,998 cases and 108 deaths.

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