New Jersey coronavirus update: Newark school official demanding for COVID testing before in-person learning begins

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- A top teacher official in New Jersey is demanding all teachers and at least the students from middle school and up, be tested for COVID-19 before any in-school instruction happens.

President of the Newark Teachers Union John Abeigon says nobody wants to get back more than teachers, but only in a safe situation.

Testing is widely available in Essex County at places like Lincoln Park and Branch Brook Park, and several others in the city.

The district has been all-virtual since the start of school back in September, though during last summer, they tried to plan for hybrid learning last fall. That never happened as coronavirus numbers climbed in the city.

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Murphy welcomed students back to school after the holiday break, noting that 77 districts have full in-person learning -- down from 82 districts. 348 have hybrid schedules and 339 are now all-remote, and that's an increase of 18 districts.

"To our students coming back from holiday, I wish you a good second half of the school year," he said.

Newark is trying again to begin a hybrid schedule, shooting for a January 25 start date in getting kids back into school buildings.

The teachers union says they really should rethink if students and teachers aren't tested first.

"When you have area codes in this city at 30%, you can presume there has been contact with someone who has the COVID," Abeigon said.

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