ROXBURY, NJ - Initially closed March 16 in reaction to COVID-19 concerns, Roxbury's schools will stay that way, it was announced today.

In his "coronavirus briefing," Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all New Jersey schools to remain closed for the remainder of the school year. "We have a single goal in mind: the safety and well-being of our children, and of our educators, administrators and staff,” said Murphy. 

The governor's announcement comes after the New Jersey Education Association and other education groups wrote a letter last week encouraging Murphy to keep school doors closed for the rest of the year.

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His action also follows New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision last week to shutter schools. Pennsylvania ordered its schools closed almost a month ago.  Delaware closed its schools on April 24 while Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is expected to make the decision for his state this week.

Remote learning will remain in place allowing education to continue. 

All Roxbury school sports will also remain canceled. “The NJSIAA (New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association) has advised against the resumption of spring sports,” said Murphy. “I do not take any pleasure in announcing this.”

In a statement, the NJSIAA said the decision "was not made lightly" and said it is "disappointed for the thousands of New Jersey student-athletes who will be unable to compete this spring."

The organization said it “remained hopeful to the end, and left open every possibility,” but determined that "competition simply is not feasible" given the circumstances.

“The last few weeks have been heartbreaking on many levels, from the tragic loss of life, to thousands battling the virus, to millions who have suffered emotional and economic loss," said the NJSIAA. "It’s been a harrowing time for everyone, and we know our student-athletes are extremely disappointed.

"That said, these unfortunate circumstances may have put an intriguing challenge in the path of our young people. As New Jersey’s own Vince Lombardi once said, 'It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.'  We’re confident all our kids will get back up and stand tall."

The NJSIAA said it "will continue developing plans for the potential restarting of scholastic sports during the fall season,” adding, that "additional information related both to the summer recess and fall will be shared at a later date.”

Roxbury Boys Lacrosse posted a reaction on Instagram, saying the news - while expected -  was "crushing," To seniors, the organization vowed to "find a way to honor and celebrate you. Although it is very hard now, we hope to be stronger for it in the future."

Milestone events such as the Roxbury High School prom and graduation ceremony is yet to be determined. “The Department of Education will work with school officials to share ideas on safe and innovative ways to recognize 2020 high school graduates and other end-of-year milestones for students,” Murphy said.