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Concerned New Jersey Parents Call For Remote Learning Option Amid COVID Surge

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- COVID cases are dropping in New Jersey and New York, but despite the trend, some parents are still worried.

As most children went back to school in person Tuesday, there were some parents in New Jersey who kept their kids home out of fear.

"No one should have to make decisions like that," Jersey City mom Sabila Khan told CBS2's Jessica Layton.

Khan lost her father to COVID and can't let go of the feeling that having a remote option is safer right now.

It's a concern growing for other parents as Omicron cases remain a problem.


With hospitalizations still high among children, Shanna Givens says she was a nervous wreck sending her 12-year-old son, Elijah, to school Tuesday.

"It scares me," Givens said. "We need to offer a virtual option."

She's is a member of NJ Parents for Virtual Choice. The group has been pushing Gov. Phil Murphy to allow for parents to decide whether they want to send their kids to class or keep them home to learn.

Earlier in January, Murphy said, "We have no desire to return to remote learning, which is suboptimal as we all know."

Several districts, like Jersey City, began the year remotely because of a higher number of infections among staff.

That district's Board of Education addressed the issue at its own virtual board meeting Tuesday night.


Meanwhile, the remote learning issue in New York City schools is causing major confusion.

This past Friday, the city sent an email to school principals updating its policy, saying teachers could offer remote office hours or assignments to kids at home for reasons other than a positive COVID test.

Four days later, the schools chancellor and mayor are trying to clarify.

"We have not announced a remote learning option, if you will," Schools Chancellor David Banks said. "We are exploring the possibilities of the expansion of a remote learning option."

"Our exploration of anything remote is to target the children who are infected, and we want to isolate them. That is our conversation with the UFT and others to look at exploring. Those are our target groups," Mayor Eric Adams said. "But it is not just to send a signal out, 'If you don't want to come to school, don't come to school.' No, our schools are open."

The latest data shows attendance at New York City schools is about 75%, suggesting about 200,000 kids aren't going to school.

The city says it will continue talking options with the teachers union.

CBS2's Jessica Layton contributed to this report.

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