NEW JERSEY – Following on the heels of legislation that funded free laptops for school districts, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today that schools will be able to offer all-remote learning in September.
Every student in the state had undergone several months of remote learning at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Districts this month have been working on how to safely bring kids back to classrooms. They were going to have to present plans to the county superintendents by the end of July.
Many districts have already sent out surveys to determine what children would be coming back.
Murphy said today that the guidelines on how to offer remote learning will be out at some point this week, and will draw on meetings he has had with educators and administrators in the past few weeks.
Additionally, the governor said that as of today, contact drills, practices and competitions for school sports, including high-risk ones such as football or lacrosse, can begin again.
Guidelines for these sports have already been released, he said. These include details about how to sterilize equipment and how to limit the sharing of equipment.
All of this activity must happen outside, he said. There is less chance of transmission outside, medical experts have said.
At another recent daily press conference, Murphy announced that the State is allotting $115 million to provide technology so that every student in New Jersey will have the ability to learn from home.
COVID-19 has exposed problems in our everyday life, and one of the problems in the educational system is that poor families do not have the same opportunities as others.
He called the $115 million in funding the Digital Divide Initiative, because it is designed to bridge the divide between the have and have-nots in terms of access to educational materials.
This money will come from a variety of sources, he said. The state is also reaching out to the philanthropic community and possible industry partners to stretch the state money more. There could be an “adopt-a-district” situation. Some money will be available for private schools.