Schools in New Jersey's 2 largest cities staying all remote through April

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- The two largest cities in New Jersey announced Friday that due to the high COVID-19 transmission rate, school buildings will stay closed to in-person learning through at least April.

Students enrolled in the Jersey City and Newark public schools will remain in Phase I of remote learning through April 21, 2021, officials said, with a decision forthcoming for after that date.

The districts are expected to release further information within the next week.

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The decision comes amid heightened concerns from teachers and union officials regarding the continued spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier this week, the president of the Newark Teachers Union demanded that all teachers and at least the students from middle school and up be tested for COVID-19 before any in-school instruction happens.

John Abeigon said nobody wants to get back more than teachers, but only in a safe situation.

The districts have 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 COVID cases climbed.

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Newark had been planning a hybrid schedule for the end of January, but the teachers union had said that decision should be rethought 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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