As expected, Gov. Phil Murphy has announced all New Jersey schools will remain closed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year — which means all students will remain at home, engaging in remote learning until at least June 30.

What happens after that remains unclear.

During his daily COVID-19 update in Trenton, the governor said the Department of Education will be leading stakeholder meetings “alongside district leaders, educators, local officials and parent organizations to determine whether summer educational or enrichment, or other programs offered at our schools may proceed.”

He said additionally, the department will work with communities on whether, when and how to open buildings for the 2020-2021 school year.

"There is a lot to consider about how the school day may differ once our students and faculty return," Murphy said.

New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet said his team is ready to move forward to explore how summer instruction and next school year could look. He said every option is being considered with regard to social distancing

“We are creating a steering committee of diverse stakeholders to help us navigate these issues," he said.

On the issue of graduation Repollet, said his message to parents is “I stand with you and commit to finding ways to honor our graduates and celebrate the incredible resilience of the class of 2020.”

He said districts are “working on a wide variety of innovative plans for alternative graduation ceremonies, proms and other traditional end-of-the-year celebrations," and that the department would support them in those efforts.

Murphy said while it’s frustrating not to be able to know when schools will be able to reopen and how that process will take place to ensure everyone’s safety, “we’re going to know a lot more a month from now, two months from now, three months from now.”

He added if the standards to reopen workplaces are high “they are even higher for schools filled with our most precious assets, our children.”

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