New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Aug. 12 said he is signing an executive order “officially clearing both our pre-K through 12 schools and our colleges and universities to reopen for the upcoming academic year.”

As part of that executive order, “any student who chooses to continue remote learning must be accommodated,” he said. School districts “that cannot meet all of the health and safety standards for safe, in-person instruction will begin their school year in an all-remote fashion,” Murphy added.

AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera’s response to the governor’s executive order is as follows:

“We are pleased and relieved that by signing today’s executive order, Gov. Phil Murphy recognizes that the reopening of New Jersey schools for in-person learning this fall requires additional guidance and flexibility to ensure a healthy and safe environment for learning and teaching.

“With this executive order, Gov. Murphy acknowledges that school districts do not have the funding, resources or time to reopen buildings safely in early September. Administrators and school boards — in collaboration with their workforce — now have the opportunity to look at the reality of implementing a reopening plan that is educationally sound and also ensures that the CDC guidelines are followed in order to protect students, staff and communities.

“Furthermore, this order will allow for the establishment of remote child-care centers to meet parents’ needs, as well as make it possible to begin the school year remotely to ensure the health and safety for all involved.”

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