CAMDEN, NJ – The city's public schools will gradually begin to reopen, starting today, after being closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Returning first to classrooms are pre-K–2nd grade students for hybrid, in-person learning, says Superintendent Katrina T. McCombs in a prepared statement.

The school district is hosting an open house this morning at the H.B. Wilson School, on South 8th Street, to give the media a first look as youngsters re-enter classrooms.  The district has updated its school buildings to ensure the safety of students and staff as they return. 

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“We are excited to welcome students back into our buildings for in-person learning,” McCombs said. “I want to thank our teachers and staff for their dedication serving our students despite incredibly difficult circumstances over the last year, and our families for their unwavering support and patience as we worked tirelessly to ensure our school buildings were safe for the return of our children.”

“Safely returning to in-person learning is critically important for our children and families,” said Minister Wasim Muhammad, president of the school district’s advisory board. “Not only is it vital for our students’ academic well-being, but also for their social-emotional well-being.”

City schools are taking a phased-in approach to reopening. It is starting with pre-k–2nd graders, then the district will have students from upper grades gradually return to classrooms in the coming weeks.

The next phase is to include 3rd to 5th graders, and later middle and high school students, McCombs explained in the prepared statement. 

The school district is following recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the state and county health departments, implementing a number of health and safety measures for its students and staff.

Among the safeguards are facility enhancements, requiring masks in all school buildings, social distancing and temperature checks upon arrival at school buildings, the press release says.