TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey schools will be open full-time for in-person learning in the new school year, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday. Murphy said during a news conference on the COVID-19 outbreak that an executive order he signed in August that allowed schools to offer remote and hybrid learning will expire at the end of the current school year.
"We are facing a much different world from one year ago," he said.
Murphy is signing an executive order lifting the outdoor mask mandate in public spaces effective Monday.
But, he again addressed his divergence with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on indoor mask mandates, saying that New Jersey will keep the requirement for face coverings in indoor public places.
Most residents of the state are still unvaccinated, the governor said, and people's vaccine status is not being checked when people enter supermarkets or hardware stores, for example.
"I don't know how we can expect workers to be able to tell who is vaccinated from who isn't. And, it is unfair to put the burden on business owners and frontline employees to police every patron," he said.
The CDC said last week that vaccinated people can largely ditch masks in indoor settings.
Murphy said that the indoor mask mandate would likely be removed in the "not-so-distant future."
He also said that a travel advisory that required quarantining when coming into the state from other states has been lifted as of Monday.
New Jersey's coronavirus infections have been falling as vaccinations climb. Nearly 3.9 million residents have been fully vaccinated, with a goal Murphy set of 4.7 million by June 30.
On Monday, officials reported 490 new coronavirus cases bringing the statewide total to 883,272. There were also 13 new coronavirus-related deaths.
Camden County officials announced six new COVID-19 -related deaths on Monday.
"Even as we continue to increase vaccinations and slow the spread of COVID-19, we are still losing lives to this disease. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," said County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. "The pandemic has been long and incredibly difficult, but we may finally be nearing the end of this crisis. The only way to prevent future flare ups of the virus is for everyone who still hasn't gotten vaccinated to get their shot. The vaccines are safe, effective, free, and more available than ever."
The county reported 167 new coronavirus cases.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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