On Tuesday, April 7, Governor Murphy issued four new Executive Orders.
Executive Order 119 extends the Public Health Emergency, declared on March 9, 2020, through Executive Order No. 103. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed. The new Order renews the Public Health Emergency until May 6 and extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Declaration of a State of Emergency, also included in Executive Order 103, remains in effect and will continue to do so until modified or revoked by the Governor.
Executive Order 118 announced the closing of all state parks and forests and county parks to further social distancing measures. It supersedes, in part, Executive Order 108, which allowed counties to implement access restrictions in their parks. Under Executive Order No. 108, municipalities still have the authority to keep municipal parks open or closed.
The order took effect on Tuesday, April 7, at 8:00 p.m. It will remain in effect until revoked or modified by the Governor.
Executive Order 117 waived the 2019-2020 statutory school year assessment requirements for eighth-grade students and 12th-grade students who have not yet met the graduation assessment requirement due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The executive order waives the graduation assessment requirement for 12th-grade students who have not yet met the assessment requirement and planned to submit a portfolio appeal. These students no longer have to submit such an appeal in order to graduate. Approximately 13,000 students were expected to submit portfolio appeals this year.
The order also waives the statutory requirement that a statewide assessment be administered to all eighth-grade students to assess progress toward mastery of graduation proficiency standards. Additionally, the order prohibits the use of student growth data as an evaluation tool for educators and waives the statutory requirement of three observations and evaluations for all non-tenured teaching staff for the 2019-2020 school year
This order follows the federal government’s waiver on March 24, 2020 of a federal requirement that New Jersey administers annual statewide assessments. After the federal waiver was granted, Governor Murphy announced that all statewide assessments in New Jersey would be canceled for the 2020 spring testing window.
The Order was effective immediately.
Executive Order 116 extends certain statutory deadlines for the handful of school districts with elections in May. Specifically:
- If the voters reject a proposed school district budget at the May 12 election, the date for municipal certification of the tax levy to the county board of taxation is extended (from May 19) to June 9.
- Terms of Office for school board members that would have expired at the first organizational meeting after April elections will, instead, expire at the first organizational meeting after the May 12 election.
- Terms of Office for members elected at the May 12 election will run as though they had been elected on the originally scheduled April 21 election.
- The last date for districts to notify non-tenured teaching staff members whether they will be employed for the next school year will be June 5, 2020. And those staff members accepting an offer of employment for the next school year will have until June 22 to notify the district.
Governor Murphy previously signed Executive Order No. 105, which postponed school board elections scheduled for April 21, 2020, until May 12, 2020.
The Order was effective immediately.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481 x121.