Newark schools: Students return to classrooms 2 days a week

In-person resumes for two days a week in New Jersey's largest school district.

Video Transcript

- The coronavirus pandemic and the big step forward today.

- Two school districts restructuring their hybrid learning plans to get students back in class.

- The largest school district in New Jersey. Newark will have students back in class for the first time in a year. Then another major one, Yonkers also welcoming kids back for four days of the week.

- Eyewitness News reporter Diana Rocco is live in Yonkers with all of the details for us. Good morning, Diana.

DIANA ROCCO: Shirleen, good morning. It's a big day here in Yonkers. In just a few hours from now, the superintendent will be out here to welcome back students for the first time in nearly a year. They were on a hybrid model, but now they are going to four days a week.

Yonkers is the fourth largest school district in the state, with 25,000 students. For the first time in a year, they will be back to nearly full time. That is four days a week.

Of course, those who still choose to remote learn can do so. The decision came after a unanimous vote by the Board of Education here in Yonkers. Students will be in class learning from home only on Wednesdays.

Bus capacity will be at 50%. School auditoriums are now abiding by CDC guidelines, which means students must remain three feet apart, and desktop areas are in place when social distancing is not possible. Also, headed back to class today, Newark students after a year of going dark, the lights are back on in the classrooms this morning as those students are headed back to the building for the first time.

Prior to that, Newark's largest-- New Jersey's largest school district had been all remote. Newark has attempted a hybrid model to start the week this week, with students attending two days a week. About 40% of students in the district have opted for in-person learning.

RAS BARAKA: I think the superintendent is doing what he can obviously to upgrade our facilities. But the most important thing is, are we ready for students and teachers?

And I would say, absolutely. He's doing an awesome, awesome job. They have air filters in every room, the main office, the gym. Every room has air filters.

DIANA ROCCO: And both districts will be testing weekly. Also, both districts will be closed on Wednesdays as a deep cleaning day. The first bell rings here in Yonkers shortly after 7:00 this morning.