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NEW JERSEY – COVID-19 cases in New Jersey skyrocketed 42% in one day. The state reported more than 9,700 cases of COVID on Wednesday, prompting local officials to take drastic measures.

After Thursday, schools in Paterson will go fully remote until mid-January.

Mayor Andre Sayegh told PIX11 News he is strongly considering an indoor mask mandate in an effort to keep residents safe. He also discussed the decision to shift schools in the district to go fully remote.

Possible mask mandate

Mayor Sayegh said he is strongly considering implementing an indoor mask mandate similar to what other cities like Newark and Montclair have done.

City Hall is currently closed, but the mayor said he might decide to implement the decision once workers return to the office.

Schools going remote

What was the final straw to prompt schools to go fully remote?

“Our nurses were getting infected,” the mayor said. “If your nurses are sick, how are they going to care for our students?”

“As a parent, it’s unfortunate because I feel like there’s nothing that parallels the in-person experience for our students,” he added.

Sayegh said they are continuing to look at the metrics to decide whether schools would reopen or remote learning continues.

Vaccines and testing in Paterson

Currently 98% of Paterson residents are vaccinated with at least one dose, according to Sayegh.

Their current focus is getting kids ages 5 to 11 vaccinated, and they are now pushing for more people to get the booster shot.

On Thursday and Friday, the city is having mobile units out, administering vaccines, boosters and testing for those interested.