This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

PATERSON, N.J. — As New Jersey continues to see a startling spike in COVID-19 cases statewide, the Paterson school district announced on Wednesday that students will start 2022 remotely.

Students will begin their winter break with an early dismissal on Thursday. They were initially expected to return to classrooms on Jan. 4, however given the spike in COVID cases, they will learn remotely from Jan. 4 through Jan. 17. School buildings will reopen on Jan. 18.

Superintendent of Schools Eileen Shafer said the decision was made in collaboration with Paterson Health Officer Dr. Paul Persaud.

“The rising numbers of COVID-19 cases due to multiple variants are cause for concern for all of us. A surge of new cases has occurred in northeastern New Jersey, and it is expected that the trend will continue through the holiday break,” said Shafer. “That is why I told the Paterson Health Officer of my concerns and asked for his support of my recommendation to begin remote learning throughout the district starting Jan. 4 until Jan. 18.” 

New Jersey reported 9,711 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total recorded in the state since the pandemic hit the United States in March 2020. The previous daily high was 6,922 cases reported on Jan. 13, 2021.

Hospitalization data wasn’t immediately available on Wednesday, but on Tuesday the Health Department reported 2,034 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 — up from 1,902 on Monday.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy urged residents to get vaccinated and boosted.

“We can’t let our guard down against COVID-19. We encourage all individuals who have received their vaccination to get a booster dose this holiday season,” he said.

To make a vaccination appointment, visit