The state is following New York's move after the CDC announcement that reduces guidance on distancing in elementary schools from six feet to three feet.
"If masking and frequent hand washing can be maintained by students, educators, and support staff in a classroom, then full-time, in-person instruction can begin with the distance between students within that classroom reduced to three feet," Murphy said.
Murphy added that he expects in-person learning for every school and district come this fall.
"As we are sitting here now, no, I want to be unequivocal about this," Murphy said. "We are expecting Monday through Friday in-person every school, every district. Obviously, if the world goes sideways, we have to revisit that, but as of this sitting, the answer is no."
The updated social distancing guidance applies to all elementary grade levels, across all levels of community transmission risk. It also applies to middle and high school grades at low and moderate risk levels.
"In communities where the rate of transmission is listed by the department of health as "high," six feet to the maximum extent practicable will remain the recommended standard social distance for middle and high schools," Murphy said. "For all schools, regardless of grade or risk factor, six feet of distance is critical in indoor common areas when masking is not an option, such as when students are eating and drinking in the school cafeteria."
Murphy says with the guidance being released, "Now is the time for all of our schools to meaningfully move forward with a return to in-person instruction whether it be full-time or through a hybrid schedule."
"The strong safety protocols to help prevent in school spread that have been in place since August will remain in place," he said. "That is because, overall, they have been quite successful. The number of cases linked to in-school spread since Aug.1 is 890. That is fewer than two tenths of one percent of all the cases we have recorded in the past eight full months. This guidance comes as more of our schools continue to trend towards in-person instruction."
Meanwhile in Newark, Mayor Ras Baraka is calling for Murphy to open up the vaccine to anyone who wants to get it.
He says too many non-Newark residents are coming to the city to get vaccinated.
Baraka also noted that the supply of vaccine is expecting to surge in April.
Governor Murphy has already said it will be open to anyone by May 1 at the latest.
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