SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There will be no more virtual learning in New Jersey come September, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday.

“We are expecting Monday through Friday in person, every school, every district,” Murphy said.

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That was the governor’s response when asked if parents will have the option of signing their child up for virtual instruction for the next school year; it was a hard no.

“Obviously, if the world goes sideways, we have to revisit that, but as of this sitting, the answer’s no,” Murphy said.


For some parents like South Orange resident April Mason, whose daughters have not met their teachers in person, it was music to her ears.

“That is wonderful news,” she told CBS2’s Meg Baker. “You cannot replicate the classroom on Zoom, and both of my kids have suffered mental health issues. They’ve suffered socially.”

But others want the governor to slow down, questioning how he can make this call now when the pandemic has been so unpredictable.

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“To decide now … and enforce a mandate today so far into the future without knowing what the circumstances or even the conditions will be in September … might seem a little bit unwise and even premature,” parent Arie Levy said.

Linden’s teachers’ union representative Eloy Delgado hopes a safe return can happen.

“If things are not back to, at least closer to semi-normal by September, something went terribly wrong,” he said. “Because hybrid instruction is extremely difficult.”


The teachers’ union says it will continue to advocate for all mitigation strategies, including social distancing, mask wearing, cleaning, adequate ventilation and vaccinations to make school a safe space.

New Jersey also announced it is adopting the CDC’s three-feet social distancing guidelines for elementary schools while masked in classrooms. The three-foot desk guidance will also apply to middle schools and high schools in regions that are “at low and moderate risk levels,” but goes to six feet where COVID rates are high.

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CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team