On April 7, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 117, which waives student assessment and educator evaluation requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.

The order eliminates assessment requirements for eighth-grade students this spring. It also lifts the assessment requirement for some 13,000 twelfth-grade students who planned to submit portfolio appeals as an alternative to passing the state standardized test. These students will not have to submit appeals in order to graduate, according to the governor.

Murphy had already canceled the administration of the standardized graduation exam late last month due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“The waiver of these student assessment requirements will ensure that no student is left behind or unduly penalized due to these extraordinary circumstances,” said Murphy.

In addition, Executive Order 117 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.

The governor issued two other orders yesterday. Executive Order 118 closed all state and county parks to promote social distancing during the pandemic. Executive Order 119 extends the public health emergency, which was initially declared on March 9 and was about to expire. Statute,  N.J.S.A. 26:13-3(b), sets a 30-day time limit on public health emergencies.

The current gubernatorial closing of all public and private schools is not subject to a time limit. And all schools remain closed indefinitely. Under the governor’s Executive Order 104, issued March 16, schools “shall remain closed as long as this Order remains in effect.” The directive was reinforced in Executive Order 107, issued March 21.