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Coronavirus Update: N.J. Cancels Statewide Assessments; Medical Students Called To Front Lines

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The coronavirus pandemic continues to make waves in the education world.

Schools across the country are closed, and students are completing their courses online.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the state is now cancelling statewide assessments for the spring.

Murphy said he received federal approval to cancel the annual tests.

"With students unable to attend school, it's not feasible to move forward with testing," the governor tweeted.

He said the move will not prevent students from meeting graduation requirements.


The Department of Health commissioner said the state may also let nursing students in their final semester fulfill their requirements by working in hospitals.

"We are getting approvals through higher ed to call up student nurses that are in their last semesters," Judith Persichilli said Tuesday. "This will fulfill their clinical requirements for graduation."

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In a similar move, New York University's Grossman Medical School is asking 122 senior medical students to graduate now, three months early, to help care for COVID-19 patients at NYU-affiliated hospitals and beyond.

Sixty-nine students, including Gaby Mayer and Evan Gerber, have stepped up.

"It's really important to join what's going on here because we have the training to be able to help and to be able to do our part," Gerber told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez.

"I went into this profession to help," Mayer said. "We have the skill set that seems needed and valuable right now. It was such an easy decision."

Executive vice dean Dr. Stephen Abramson says he couldn't be more proud.

"It's awe-inspiring and it just says a lot about our students and their dedication to taking care of people," he said

The university says the early graduation still needs approval from the state Department of Education and two groups that accredit medical schools.

Starting in April, the new interns will work with a team of doctors and be highly supervised. They will not be in Intensive Care Units caring for more severe patients.

They say they know the risks, especially with dwindling medical supplies, but knowing the difference they can make so early in their career is rewarding.

"My commitment to the greater cause in terms of the public health infrastructure, of my co-residents, future co-residents who are currently being absolutely inundated with patients I think takes precedence," Mayer said.

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