New Jersey’s public school students will no longer have the option to learn remotely starting in September.
Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, announced on Monday that he was rescinding an order that permitted families to choose to keep their children home for virtual instruction. It was a surprise announcement from a state where some of the largest school districts have not yet reopened to all students, and many families continue to keep their children home.
Many other states are still struggling with guidance for next year. In Massachusetts, remote learning options were eliminated last month for elementary and middle school students, and Connecticut won’t require schools to offer remote learning next school year.
“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,” Mr. Murphy said.
He added, “Next year parents will not be enabled to broad scale opt their child out of in-person instruction as was allowed this school year.”
In explaining his decision, Mr. Murphy cited the ability of adults and children as young as 12 to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the declining rate of infection in New Jersey and an increased understanding about how the virus spreads. He also said it was possible that children younger than 12 would be eligible for vaccines before September.
There have been 1,263 cases of in-school transmission of the virus linked to 281 outbreaks since schools reopened in September, according to the state’s Department of Health.
“We know that we can get back fully in person, safely, with the right protocols in place,” the governor said.
Marie Blistan, president of the state’s largest teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association, a close ally of Mr. Murphy’s, said in a statement, “We hope and expect that all New Jersey public schools will safely open for full in-person instruction in the fall.”
But, she added, “There is still work to do to ensure that every student and staff member returns to a safe learning and working environment.”