Gov. Murphy, Education Secretary Cardona push in-person learning during school tour

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
BERGENFIELD, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Bergenfield High School Wednesday to discuss the importance of in-person learning.

They also heard from the students about getting back in class after a year of online and hybrid learning.

Students in band practice had a chance to show their skills while others took time to share some of their excitement about being back in classrooms.

The high school is now back to full-day in-person learning.

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Public schools serving over 95% of New Jersey's nearly 1.4 million students are now learning in person either on a full-time or hybrid schedule.

Governor Murphy is requiring all schools to provide full-time, in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year, with no remote learning option available.

Regarding mask-wearing, the governor said "absolutely our minds are open" to not requiring students wear masks in schools next year.

But "as of this moment in time," he said he believes mask wearing will still be required, because there is still no vaccine for those under 12.

For his part, Cardona said "one thing that's not negotiable" is students are expected to be learning in person next year.

"While I'd like to predict that we are going to be able to reopen schools in the fall without masks, I'm going to lean on my health expert partners," Cardona said.

After the tour, the governor said it is good to see so many school districts in the state where the kids are back in class.

Cardona agreed.

"Here at this school and in this state, it is clear that children come first," he said. "Students belong in school and that's what we saw today. The experience for these students is more normal than it was three to four months ago, twelve months ago because of the work led by the Governor, the principal, the superintendent, the Commissioner to make sure we are keeping children first."

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