NJ parents wage fight to reinstate remote learning for upcoming school year

New Jersey

NEW JERSEY — It was back in March when Gov. Phil Murphy announced that all schools in New Jersey would return to in-person instruction for the upcoming school year; the option for virtual learning was completely taken off the table and it blindsided some parents.

Remote learning had a positive impact on Deanna Nye’s 14-year-old son.

“He’s had perfect attendance and he made the honor roll for the first time ever,” Nye told PIX11,

She said the eighth grader, who has autism, thrived in his studies, far exceeding expectations.

As the state prepares to bring all students back in to the classroom in September, Nye said she’s concerned it will do more harm than good.

“My kids did wonderful, I know many didn’t,” she explained. “But why should we be penalized because it didn’t work for others?”

Nye and fellow mom Karen Strauss — who both have children in the Bridgewater-Raritan school district — founded the group New Jersey Parents for Personal Choice.

The mothers, who both have children with medical conditions, saw tremendous benefits with remote learning. Their group is urging Murphy to make the virtual models an option for families like theirs.

“If we can make accommodations for all, which we can – we should,” Strauss said.

Despite their plea, Murphy is not reversing course.

“The answer is no,” Governor Murphy said during his weekly press briefing Monday. “We fully expect to be back in school, Monday through Friday full days, as close to a normal school year as possible.”

With COVID cases rising statewide, which experts say is being fueled by the delta variant and unvaccinated individuals, concerns are now looming ahead of the school year.

Murphy said they will revisit the issue if need be. 

“The virus will dictate the terms,” he said.

Despite their uphill battle, the group of parents is carrying on with their campaign. Their online petition has garnered over 1,000 signatures.

One of their goals is to meet with the governor to share the stories of success when it comes to virtual learning.

Correction: The spelling of the school district has been updated.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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