As tens of thousands of parents demand the option to start the school year remote, Governor Phil Murphy is reiterating it is not going to happen.

Despite the continued spread of the COVID Delta variant and every New Jersey county now listed as having a high transmission rate, Murphy insists all k-12 schools in New Jersey return to full-time in-class learning in two weeks.

However, Murphy did acknowledge the fluidity of the situation, and said districts have been advised they have to have individual contingency plans. "Absent, please God, any outbreak," Murphy told reporters this week, "We're back in business in school in person."

Nearly 20,000 parents have signed a petition demanding the state allow a virtual learning option. The reasons vary. Some parents just are not comfortable sending thier kids back into a classroom, others have child care and work issues and still others say thier kids actually did better with remote learning.

While we understand that learning in person is best for many students, we also know that learning virtually is what is best for other children. Families deserve to have a CHOICE in our children’s education and to do what is best for our kids. - change.org petition

Those parents are also demanding a meeting with the governor. Murphy said they will get a meeting, but not necessarily with him.

Murphy was peppered with questions from reporters this week about what happens if there is a COVID outbreak in school. He said it's been "very clear" districts need to have a contingency plan, but did not give specifics about what they would look like.

The New Jersey Department of Education issued a memo two weeks ago that instructed districts to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak and have a plan for quarantining students, but the exact planning is being left up to individual districts.

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