NEW JERSEY - An anticlimactic message on New Jersey public schools is expected by Governor Murphy on Monday, May 4th, at12PM. 

The message, if his previous messages on timing are accurate, is that schools will be closed for the rest of the year.

While this would not be much of a surprise, he did hold out hope and waited until middle of May. 

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Many educational organizations have requested closure or are planning for it regardless.

Letters sent to Murphy and Dr. Lamont Repollet, Commissioner of Education, all point to ending the suspense that was supposed to last until at least May 15th.  

‘Reopening’ Education brings specific requirements  that are much different from ‘reopening’ a store. Concerns expressed by educational professionals include:

Bussing – Social distancing is impossible on current bussing. More busses may be needed and at what cost? Also, many outside contractors have laid off their bus drivers. How easy would it be to get them back?

Many parents may simply refuse to go back this early. This would arguably force the in-school and remote option to be determined quickly.

Wearing masks – according to area superintendents, wearing masks is not workable. Sourcing masks, controlling use and cleanup as well as special health circumstances of children make it very difficult in terms of compliance. A school with 5000 students may need 25,000 masks a week.

Social distancing is itself an issue. Classrooms would need to be measured, staffing and costs would need to be balanced along with how the school sessions are determined. If the class size is too small, it won't work without a major retooling of the calendar.

A letter was sent recently to the Governor from area superintendents. In it, they ask for the obvious: Close the schools.

In addition:

  • Allow remote learning for rest of year and also summer
  • Clarify position on graduation ceremonies
  • Don’t wait

While most have already ‘shut schools’ in their minds, they wait for it to be on paper. An Executive Order, to be more precise. The Governor's Press Conference will be Monday, the details and link are here:

When: 12:00 p.m.

What: Governor Murphy, Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, Department of Health Communicable Disease Service Medical Director Dr. Edward Lifshitz, State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan, and Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet to Hold Coronavirus Briefing

Where: George Washington Ballroom, Trenton War Memorial, 1 Memorial Dr., Trenton, NJ

Press: Open, availability

The briefing will be live-streamed on the Governor's official YouTube channel: