TRENTON, NJ -- A July decision by the Bayonne Public School District that made them in the first in the state to plan on an entirely virtual start to the new academic year was vindicated Wednesday when Governor Phil Murphy announced that his Administration would give the thumbs up to students learning from home.

"Our commitment to meeting the conditions on the ground with flexibility has not changed. Our focus on protecting students, families, and educators has not changed. When our schools open in September, they must be ready to safely provide the high-quality education to all students that is a hallmark of New Jersey," Murphy said during a briefing. "We know the first day of school is not going to be like any other in our history. We’re fully committed to getting this right."

New Jersey’s system of education has long been rooted in local control and decision-making based on local input, Murphy said, and that for the past six weeks "we’ve relied upon the work of local educational communities to determine the best way for their schools to reopen."

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In his own letter to Bayonne families, parents and guardians Bayonne Public Schools Superintendent John Niesz confirmed that local schools will reopen September 9 in a fully virtual setting. 

"As you know COVID-19 is ever-changing, and we will continue to evaluate our plan monthly and when possible, we may transition to hybrid plan or a plan to return all students to school," Niesz said. "As always our decisions shall be based upon the safety and security of all of our students." 

"There is no one-size-fits-all plan to this difficult education situation," Murphy said. "We are home to nearly 600 public school districts, plus charter & renaissance schools, nonpublic & parochial schools, and other specialized places of learning. Each one faces its own unique challenges."

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