“Test To Stay” program begins in New Jersey as students return to state schools – CBS New York

HOBOKEN, NJ (CBSNew York) – It was back to school Monday for the kids in New Jersey, although not everyone was in the class.

Some districts have started the New Year with distance learning, reported Kevin Rincon of CBS2.

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The continued increase in the Omicron variant has meant a return to home learning for tens of thousands of children.

“The days leading up to winter break showed an increase in numbers that we have never seen before,” said Newark Schools Principal Roger Leon.

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Leon heads the state’s largest school system, with nearly 37,000 students. In the last month alone, more than 750 students fell ill, and 500 staff members tested positive.

The neighborhood will remain virtual for another two weeks.

“Everyone should plan with the idea that the students would be back in person on the 18th,” Leon said.

COVID VACCINE

It’s not just Newark. Several locations have become remote during the first days of the New Year to allow them to get tested before returning, and as individual districts weigh their options, the state will not force anyone to move away.

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“We currently have no intention or plan to close our schools,” Governor Phil Murphy said.

Instead, the governor said testing will continue and, for now, masks will still be needed.

“It brings us absolutely no joy. No one wants to see our children’s smiles more than I do, but this is what is needed now to keep our schools safe, ”said Murphy.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

As for children exposed to classmates who test positive, New Jersey issued new guidelines over the weekend for what it calls its “Test to Stay” program, for asymptomatic unvaccinated students whose the test is negative.

“Students participating in Test to Stay are required to adhere to the enhanced testing and masking recommendations, and must self-quarantine when not in schools,” the Health Commissioner said. Dr. Judy Persichilli.

At the moment, there is a lack of consistency. In Hoboken, schools will be closed for a few days to allow students to take city-funded PCR tests.

Elsewhere in the state, some districts are returning without any testing. In these communities, many parents are now footing the bill for their own testing, providing peace of mind.

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Kevin Rincon of CBS2 contributed to this report.

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