Gov. Murphy says all New Jersey students will be back in the classroom this fall

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that all students will be back to in-person learning in the fall.

Executive Order #175, which allowed school districts to provide remote instructions, will expire at the end of this current academic year.

"Through this action, we are declaring that all students will be back in school for full-time in-person instruction come the start of the 2021 - 2022 school year," he said.

Murphy said the full-time remote learning option will not be available for the 2021-2022 school year.



"When schools across New Jersey first closed their doors in March of last year, little was known about COVID-19 and how it spread. But over a year has passed, and we are now facing a very different reality," said Murphy.

"With our health metrics trending decisively in the right direction, the significant progress we have made in our vaccination effort, and vaccines now available to those as young as 12, we are in a position to get our students back into the classroom full-time come fall.

We know that there is no substitute for in-person education and know that a full opening of our schools is critical to the well-being of our students," Murphy continued.

While school districts will be required to fully open buildings beginning fall 2021, remote learning will be permitted in the event that there is a localized outbreak or other emergency, officials said.

Summer camps and summer educational programming for summer 2021 will not be impacted and will still be required to follow relevant health and safety protocols.



Indoor mask mandate remains in place



Murphy also announced that the outdoor mask mandate for public spaces will be lifted Monday.

However, the mask mandate for indoor public spaces remains in effect.

"The majority of New Jerseyans are still unvaccinated, and keeping this mandate in place in public settings protects you, your family, essential workers and our entire community," Murphy said.

For mothers Shaffon Herbert and Tori Witherspoon of Camden, this announcement couldn't come soon enough.

"With virtual learning, I have to work. So it's like, how am I going to work if they're home?" said Herbert.

"We're single moms. So we have to stop in between our day to be home with our kids with virtual learning when we're used to being at work," said Witherspoon.

But most importantly, Herbert says it's because of her children's grades.

"My kids are dropping grades because they're doing virtual learning," she said.

In Haddonfield, we met mother and daughter Dawn and Hayden Schiedt who agree.

"It's going to be nice to go back to normal and have to get up early in the morning again and get moving and feel like we're doing something again," said Dawn.

Hayden says she's ready to feel like a full-time student again.

"The in-person learning, being able to do some of the fun activities that we would usually do or even just having like a normal day," said Hayden.

Amanda Miranda thinks virtual learning should actually be a permanent option.

"The parents should have their own choice because there's some kids that don't benefit in school," said Miranda.

Travel advisory lifted



Also Monday, Murphy announced the state is lifting its travel advisory. Travelers to New Jersey are no longer required to quarantine.

Murphy urged travelers to follow local health and safety protocols and travel guidance from the federal government.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.