4,000 students return for in-person learning in one New Jersey school district

LAKEWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) -- Roughly 4,000 students returned to school in one New Jersey town for the first day of in-person classes Friday.

The Lakewood School District is among 63 statewide offering full in-person instruction, though one of its schools was forced to delay its opening.

Lakewood Middle School won't be ready to open until next Tuesday because eight modular units -- one of their key social distancing initiatives to ease crowding -- aren't ready.

The middle school houses 1,300 students.

Related: NJ school district decides to delay in-person learning

For those who returned Friday, students and staff members were each given two reusable cloth masks and a face shield upon arrival.

Lakewood teachers had threatened a job action, claiming the schools are not safe, but only four teachers and two paraprofessionals called out of work Friday.

Twelve teachers and nine paraprofessionals are out under the CARES Act.

A district attorney said they could not report because they live in districts without in-person learning and needed to stay home.

The Lakewood School District is educating the children of six teachers whose home districts are not offering in-person learning.

Related: District gives every student Chromebook to make remote learning easier

Lakewood has 6,500 public school students, who account for just 14% of the township's total elementary and secondary school-age population, which is comprised mostly of 40,000 Orthodox Jewish children and teenagers enrolled in some 135 private yeshivas.

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