Students in New Jersey's two largest cities have begun making their return to classrooms in person after working remotely because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Thursday, students in Jersey City began returning to school, just days after Newark officials said they were expanding in-person instruction to four days a week, up from two.
Jae Rodriguez was accompanying her third-grade son back to Christa McAuliffe Elementary School on Thursday. She said she had some fear that he could get sick, but she had other concerns, too.
Schooling in a Pandemic
“It’s anxiety of how he’s going to acclimate again after so much time away just because this is uncharted territory. But I mean, they’re kids. They’re resilient. God willing, they’ll be fine,” she said.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday nearly 86% of students in the state are back in-person in some format, either hybrid or entirely in person. Just 25 districts, out of more than 600 are all-remote, the governor said, affecting about 115,000 students. That's about 8.5% of the total student population in New Jersey.
The return of in-person learning comes as the state's coronavirus data trends in the right direction, as new cases over the past two weeks are down 28%. Murphy also announcedthat on May 10, proms, weddings and other events can resume, along with expanded outdoor capacities.
Schools in New Jersey should be entirely in-person by the fall, the governor has said.
The state is pushing to get 70% of its adult population vaccinated by June 30. That's 4.7 million people, Murphy has said. So far nearly 3 million people have been fully vaccinated in the state.
He's also promising to continue to open the state's economy further if the numbers continue falling.