TRENTON — Gov. Phil Murphy Wednesday urged school districts across the state to reopen for indoor instruction, a year to the day the COVID-19 pandemic forced an emergency transition learning online.

Most school districts have already opened to full in-person instruction or hybrid instruction. Data provided by the state shows that 142 school districts [107,498 students] are open fully for in-person instruction, 534 school districts [843,394 students] for hybrid instruction, 37 school districts [85,541 students] with some combination of in-person, hybrid and remote while 98 school districts [317,044 students] are solely open for remote learning.

“Now is the time for all of our schools to meaningfully move forward to a return to in-person instruction, whether it be full time or through a hybrid schedule,” the governor said during a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday.


The state received $2.8 billion from the federal government through the America Rescue Plan to help local school districts reopen and to address the learning loss caused by the pandemic.

The state expects every district to open for full-time, in-person instruction for the 2021- 2022 school year in September for the 2021-2022 school year, Gov. Murphy said. Since last August, only 800 of the roughly 565,000 positive cases of COVID-19 had been linked to in-school transmission.

Angelica Allen-McMillian, the acting commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education, said the return of students to in-person instruction is her department’s “foremost priorities.”

Also on Wednesday, New Jersey surpassed 3 million administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of that total, 2,040,000 received a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine while more than 1.1 million are fully vaccinated, having received their second dose or the single dose Johnson & Jonhson vaccine.

The milestone puts New Jersey nearly halfway to it goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the state’s adult population, 4.7 million people, by the summer, Gov. Murphy said.

The New Jersey Department of Health reported 3,590 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the state’s total since last March to 751,082. Hospitalization has remained stable, with 1,895 patients being treated. Of that total 407 are in intensive care and 231 are using a ventilator.

Confirmed deaths increased by 38, with 21,530 total since the start of the pandemic. Not included in that number are 2,515 probable deaths believed to be linked to COVID-19.

Increased capacity limit for restaurants, salons, outdoor and indoor gatherings take effect Friday. Restaurants, gyms, recreational and amusement facilities and barbershops and salons will be permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity, up from 35 percent.

Indoor gatherings other than religious services, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services or performances can be held with a maximum of 25 individuals in attendance, up from 10. Outdoor gatherings will be capped at 50 individuals, up from 25.

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