NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The superintendent of schools said the decision to close city schools for a week was reached after a series of meetings with city and state leaders.

Aubrey Johnson said in a statement provided to TAPinto New Brunswick that switching to a remote-learning format for next week was done to safeguard students from the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our district is shifting to a remote learning format – which enables students to learn without being physically in class -- from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, in an effort to check the spread of the coronavirus," Johnson said. "This decision was reached following several rounds of discussion that at various times included local, county, and state leaders, health officials and our board of education."

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The school district announced Friday that it will be closing schools starting Monday.

City schools will remain closed through March 20 and the district will implement its long-range remote instruction plan, or Continuity of Teaching and Learning Plan.

Students will complete schoolwork from home via computers and provided work packets. Parents are asked to encourage their children to participate in the learning activities at home.

Starting Monday, the school district will be providing grab-and-go meals for students from 10 a.m. to noon at the following locations:

  • Archibald Park (located by McKinley School)
  • Kossuth Park  (located near Lincoln School)
  • Murphy Park (located by Woodrow Wilson School)
  • Feaster Park (located by Paul Robeson School)

Other nearby school districts have also reacted to the coronavirus COVID-1. After a confirmed positive case in East Brunswick, the school system and all activities will be closed through Sunday.

In Franklin, schools will be closed March 16-18. Beginning on March 19, the district will begin remote learning days, which are anticipated to run through at least March 20.

Schools in Edison be closed Monday, March 16 (using a snow day) and remote learning will begin Tuesday, March 17 until further notice.

"Closures of this type – which are taking place in many school districts throughout New Jersey – are a recommended strategy for addressing the current public health situation," Johnson said. "We will be monitoring and assessing coronavirus-related developments on an ongoing basis, and will share new or additional information as it becomes available."

Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday that the state is planning for the "inevitability" that all schools will be mandated to switch to remove learning. Until then, he's urging all gatherings of 250 or more people to be canceled.

“On a more personal note, and until this matter is resolved, I encourage everyone to be aware of and follow all guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control," Johnson said. "A wealth of information is readily available online, at Stay healthy, everyone – we’ll get through this together.”