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NJ Releases Guidelines For Reopening Schools Amid Pandemic

WCBS Radio New York logo WCBS Radio New York 8/14/2020 Sean Adams
© Provided by WCBS Radio New York

TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- Newly-released guildines outline what would happen if cases of coronavirus popped up in schools in New Jersey.

The guidelines dictate that when one student or teacher test positive, the school can remain open and close contacts must quarantine.

If two people in the same room test positive for COVID-19, the entire classroom must quarantine and if two people in different classes have the virus that could trigger a closure of the entire school.

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State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said they are going to monitor COVID activitiy in six regions.

She said they will look at "the number of cases in the past week, the percent positively in the past week, syndromic surveillance in the past week."

Risk assessment will be based on a color-coded system: green, yellow, orange and red.

"Risk levels green, yellow and orange require staff and students to stay home when they are sick or if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID in the past 14 days," Persichilli said, adding that if a region reaches level red that could force all schools in that area to shut down.

LINK: Checklist for reopening New Jersey schools

Murphy on Wednesday signed an executive order allowing all schools in the state to reopen in the fall.

He stressed that any school that wants to resume in-person instruction may only do so if social distancing and other protections, such as masks, are adhered to.

The governor noted individual school districts will have the authority to decide if school buildings will reopen or not. However, he did note that any school district that cannot meet all health and safety standards for safe in-person instruction will need to begin the school year using an all-remote learning model.

"Our top priority is the health and safety of our students and educators, and we must ensure that schools reopen their doors only when it is safe for them to do so," said Murphy. "While we continue to believe that there is no substitute for being in the classroom, allowing districts to delay the implementation of in-person instruction will give them the time and flexibility they need to ensure buildings are ready and welcoming when they do open."

Several districts including Bayonne and Elizabeth have already announced they plan to start the school year with remote learning.

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