Newark students head back to the classroom for the first time in over a year

New Jersey

NEWARK — Monday marked the first time in 13 months that students in the Garden State’s largest school district returned to the classroom, with the assumption that under their masks, students at Lafayette Street School in Newark were all smiles.

For some parents — the milestone brought much needed relief.

“It just wasn’t the same [learning remotely,] and I actually believe the kids have been at a disadvantage,” parent Natalia Candelaria told PIX11. “I don’t think they really learned much of anything — and it’s not the teachers fault, it’s just life.”

Roughly 14,000 students enrolled in the school district’s hybrid program, where they’ll go into the classroom for two days and learn remotely for three.

From social distancing to masking up at all times, safety guidelines will be enforced, according to Mayor Ras Baraka.

“Before you come in, you get your temperature checked, you sanitize your hands and sanitize your feet — they have sanitation stations in every classroom,” the mayor said during a recent Facebook Live update.

Gov. Phil Murphy praised Newark officials for getting it done Monday, and also highlighted other districts across the state opening their doors back up this week.

He said 165 districts in New Jersey are back open for in-person learning covering 144,500 students — a big increase from the week prior.

“Today, 165 districts are back for in-person that covers 144,500 students and that is an increase of nine schools and districts and 21,000 kids from last week,” he said.

Despite the openings, 323,000 students at 118 schools statewide remain on an all-remote schedule. The governor said the short term goal is to at least implement a hybrid schedule at most, if not all, schools in the state by May.

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