State: Majority of school districts in NJ plan to start school year in hybrid learning mode

Photo of Phil Murphy at his daily press briefing by photographer Rich Hundley III.
Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo by Rich Hundley III.

More than 425 school districts, charter schools, and private schools in the state plan to begin the school year using a hybrid learning model that includes both in-person and remote learning.

Gov. Phil Murphy provided statistics about public and private schools near the start of his COVID-19 press briefing on Monday and reviewed the latest pandemic data from the New Jersey Department of Health.

“Each region in the state is safe for school reopening with the right precautions in place at the individual school level,” Murphy said.

The state received another 225 confirmed COVID-19 positive test results on Monday, bringing the number of confirmed cases in New Jersey to 189,719 since March 4. The daily COVID-19 test positivity rate for the state is 1.33 percent for the fourth consecutive day, and the rate has been below two percent six of the past seven days. “It’s about as good as any state in America,” Murphy said. The transmission rate for the virus is .85, and this is the third day in a row the rate has been under 1 for the rate in New Jersey.

Hospitals in the state are caring for 227 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, and another 219 patients who are suspected to be COVID-19 positive are awaiting test results. Sixty-six COVID-19 patients are in intensive care in the state, and 27 ventilators are in use. The state has recorded another three COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in the state to 14,120. Another 1,829 residents are suspected to have died due to complications from COVID-19. Nine COVID-19 related deaths occurred in New Jersey hospitals over the weekend but have not been added to the official pandemic death toll yet, officials said.

As of Monday, 745 reopening plans have been submitted by public school districts, charter schools, and private schools to the New Jersey Department of Education. More than 250 plans have been deemed complete by officials, 389 plans have been returned to districts for necessary revisions, and 105 plans are awaiting a review.

A total of 426 school districts, charter schools, and private schools envision a hybrid model for the start of the school year that is a mix of in-person and remote learning. Fifty-nine districts, charter schools, and private schools plan to offer all learning in person, and 180 districts, charter schools, and private schools plan to begin the school year in remote-only learning mode. In eleven school districts, some buildings are equipped to offer in-person learning and will do so, and those districts will offer remote-only learning for students from the facilities where in-person learning is not feasible.

Murphy also announced that at the college level, Union County and Kean University have establish a COVID-19 educational program. “The curriculum will bring with it academic and career opportunities as we work together to defeat virus and train the next generation of virus fighters,” Murphy said.