TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – High school athletes in New Jersey will soon be able to play ball again, with restrictions.

Gov. Phil Murphy also has new goals for in-person learning for all students.

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As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reports, the Rutgers basketball team heads to the big dance, younger athletes across New Jersey may doing a happy dance of their own, knowing outdoor interstate sports are coming back.

“As the weather begins to warm up and outdoor sports season looks to start, I am pleased we can take this first step,” Murphy said Wednesday.

But as kids hit the field, track and tennis courts again, there are new game rules:

  • Each player can only have two parents/guardians there to cheer them on
  • Attendees must wear masks and social distance
  • Athletes will wear a mask on the sideline

As they get back to scoring goals, the governor announced a goal of his own: Opening every New Jersey school for full time, in-person learning by the fall. Right now, 317,000 students from 98 schools are still fully remote.

“Time for students to be in school, not on black boxes in Zoom screens,” Murphy said.

Watch: Gov. Phil Murphy Discuss COVID And Reopening In New Jersey

Thursday marks a year in New Jersey since many of our dining rooms turned into classrooms – the day COVID closed all schools and remote learning began.

“We know there are students who have fallen behind. Time to stem this tide before more fall away,” Murphy said.

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It’s been a challenge to say the least, and the Acting Commissioner for the state Department of Education Dr. Angelica Allen says academic and social setbacks won’t be spread evenly. Some will bear the brunt of the impacts.


“Students with disabilities, English learnings, low income, Black and Hispanic,” Allen said.

The governor says since Aug. 1, only 800 of about 565,000 COVID cases were linked back to in-school transmission.

Dr. Anthony Fauci had promising news on the vaccine front.

“For high school students, it looks like they will be available to get vaccinated in the beginning of the fall, very likely for the fall term,” he said.

As for teachers, the state says it’s moving full speed ahead on getting them their shots, so they can safely and confidently teach our kids from a classroom sooner than later.

The DOE commissioner is also requesting a waiver on state student assessment tests this year, but will begin preparations for testing in the spring, just in case.

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Jessica Layton contributed to this report. 

CBSNewYork Team