New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told CNBC on Friday he thinks K-12 schools in the state will reopen for in-person classes in the fall.
“We want them to, and I do believe they will,” Murphy said on “Squawk Box,” while acknowledging that hopes for reopening schools could be derailed if coronavirus cases were to get really bad again in the state coming out of the summer.
“Imagine predicting in late April what late June would look like in America. Probably none of us would have gotten it right, good or bad,” the Democrat added. “So with that big caveat, two months out, I believe we will be back in school. It will be an new normal. There will be protocols in place that had not been in place before.”
Murphy’s comments Friday came as schools at all levels across the U.S. are trying to develop plans for how to safely welcome students back for in-person instruction this fall. Many schools across the country shifted to remote learning in March as the Covid-19 outbreak intensified.
Murphy said he will have more details on the state’s plan at a press conference later Friday.
Last week, New Jersey issued mandatory guidelines and recommendations to colleges and universities on how they can resume in-person classes. Schools have to submit plans to the state Office of the Secretary of Higher Education at least 14 days before they intend to restart.
New Jersey is currently in the second phase of its coronavirus reopening, with restaurants allowed to offer outdoor dining and most nonessential businesses able to operate with capacity limits. Malls will reopen next week. Casinos also can reopen with 25% capacity on July 2.
New Jersey has more than 170,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to the state Department of Health. More than 13,000 people in the state have died.
Daily cases in New Jersey have come down dramatically since April, when the state had multiple days over more than 4,000 new infections. Daily case counts have mostly been under 500 since June 13.
Murphy, along with the governors of New York and Connecticut, imposed a 14-day quarantine Wednesday on travelers arriving from states that have rising Covid-19 cases that exceed certain benchmarks. The order currently includes Texas and Florida, which both which paused their reopening plans.