Recently, Gov. Phil Murphy laid out a plan to reopen schools across New Jersey after the state’s coronavirus shutdown. Murphy said New Jersey schools can resume in-person instruction in September, provided their district creates a safety plan approved by their school board. But he also said he’ll pull the plug on reopening if cases go up again.
Before turning over the reins to incoming superintendent Jonathan Ponds, former interim superintendent Nathan Parker said the district set up five design teams in June. Each was tasked with brainstorming on a different aspect of the return to class in September.
“Three design teams focused on needs identified during the spring: K-2 instruction, mental health, and students who disconnected from the learning process,” Parker stated. “Two of the design teams focused on likely fall scenarios: the continuation of remote instruction, and a hybrid model of in-school and remote learning.”
Last week, Superintendent Ponds offered an update on the district’s progress. He wrote:
“As your new superintendent, this is my first update about the planning in progress by the district to address multiple issues for returning students to schools in the fall. Our five design teams are hard at work exploring different scenarios during these changing times. They are assessing various learning environments including the social emotional and technological components of what school will look like.”
“Our utmost priority is ensuring the safety of our students and faculty and we will follow the CDC and New Jersey Department of Education guidelines as well as following the advice of our local health department and school physician. I will be providing you a more detailed update in the next two weeks to assure you that plans are moving forward and allowing you time to make adjustments as a family. Please know that all our plans include enhancing the educational experience for all of our learners.”
Ponds said that district administrators are using a recent parent survey to help guide the process. More than 3,300 people responded to the survey.
More than half said they’re sending their kids back to school if buildings open in the fall. About 39 percent said they were “undecided,” and 7 percent said “no.”
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