New Jersey’s two biggest cities are keeping their public schools on remote learning through at least April, at which time it will have been more than a year since their students set foot in a school building.

Newark will stay on remote learning until their spring break ends on April 12th, with the plan to return to hybrid learning afterwards, according to school officials. Jersey City will stay with remote learning until April 21st.

Unlike the back-and forth between New York’s city and state leadership over the fate of schools reopening during the pandemic, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has largely left these decisions up to local leaders.

Jersey City schools, with an enrollment of about 30,000 students, have stayed remote since the pandemic shut down school buildings in March 2020, according to

In a board meeting this week, the outlet reported that Jersey City Superintendent Franklin Walker said he hopes students can come back at some point this year, if even for just a short time: “If there is any time between now and June that we can get students back in school, whatever time we can get them in to come back accustomed to the process of being in person for instruction …if it’s one month…two months, we are going to take advantage of that,” Walker said.

Newark schools have also remained remote only after two plans to reopen were scuttled. This month, schools were set to reopen for hybrid learning January 25th, Chalkbeat reported, but Superintendent Roger León changed course after pushback from the Newark Teachers Union and increasing COVID-19 rates in the city.

“In Newark, we are at a critical stage in the fight against Covid-19, and the health and safety of students and staff remain my top priority,” León said in a letter this week. “Based on what we know today, and in consultation with the Newark Health Department, I have weighed many factors and decided to continue remote instruction until after Spring Break.”

Newark is reporting more than 140 new virus cases each day since the beginning of the year, Mayor Ras Baraka said Monday. Jersey City is also reporting a seven-day average of 147 new cases, with a new record peak set Wednesday of 274 new cases reported.