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Gov. Phil Murphy in December 2019. Phoot: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Wednesday he will sign an executive order allowing private and public K-12 schools and universities to reopen for in-person learning in September.

The big picture: New York and New Jersey have now authorized school districts to begin reopening. Both states and Connecticut ordered travelers from 31 states to quarantine before crossing their state borders after they were able to manage the pandemic.

Where it stands: Current hospitalizations, new cases and fatalities have continued to decline in both New York and New Jersey, per the COVID Tracking Project.

  • Murphy said school districts must certify to the New Jersey Department of Education that they are able to meet certain health and safety standards, and that those that cannot safely reopen must create plans to start the school year with all-remote learning.
  • There have been over 185,000 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and almost 15,900 deaths in New Jersey, per Johns Hopkins.

Between the lines: As noted by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week, the decision to allow children to return to school is ultimately a personal choice for parents, regardless of the state's position.

Go deeper

Nov 18, 2020 - Health

Over a quarter-million people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The United States topped 250,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday as infections soar in nearly every pocket of every state in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Why it matters: The sharp rise in the number of cases and fatalities has accelerated calls for government action. Wednesday's news exceeded infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci's March prediction in which he said "we should be prepared" that COVID-19 could kill 240,000 Americans.

The Thanksgiving time bomb

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are at new peaks, cities and states are weighing second lockdowns, and flu season is upon us — but we're all looking the other way.

Why it matters: Pandemic fatigue has set in and the nation has collectively stopped caring just in time for the holiday season. This Thanksgiving could be catastrophic for public health.

Nov 18, 2020 - Health

Pfizer says latest data shows its coronavirus vaccine is safe and 95% effective

Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Pfizer said on Wednesday that its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective and has no serious side effects.

The state of play: The company said they have enough safety data now and plan to request an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration "within days."