Bordentown receives early praise for online learning during coronavirus outbreak

PHOTO COURTESY OF THOMAS WIEDMANN

The coronavirus hasn’t slowed down the Bordentown Regional School District from continuing to educate their students.

In an inclusive interview with the district’s superintendent Dr. Edward Forsthoffer on March 23, the superintendent said he has received “dozens of emails” from parents, administrators and former educators on the positives they have seen from the online learning format that the district has been using.

“So far, we have received a lot of great feedback on how the distance learning program is going,” Forsthoffer said. “Parents have been happy with the high quality of work that our teachers have been doing with our students.”

Bordentown has had their students and teachers use a variety of online video conferencing and other online platforms since the district began doing remote learning on March. 16.

The district’s elementary and secondary schools have been mostly using the online portal Zoom to chat and conduct classes.

Bordentown Regional Middle School and High School students and teachers have been using different video conferencing platforms to connect via their phones or computers.

Teachers that provide a webpage on the district’s website for their specific classes to their students have continued to post needed reading material and assignments during this time.

A big success in the eyes of Forsthoffer has been the district keeping school hours the same for their students.

For example, high school students are still expected to follow their class schedules from 7:30 a.m. to 2:26 p.m, just as if they were attending school.

This allows students to have easier access to be in contact with teachers who they’re scheduled to meet with at that time to go over material if they have any questions, Forsthoffer said.

The superintendent said the district’s ability to have success in online learning shows how far they have come in the matter.

“We went from being a non-distance learning district to a total distance learning district,” Forsthoffer said.

Schools will only be open on Mondays from 9-11 a.m. going forward for students who receive free or reduced lunches to pick up their order. The district will send these students and their families home with breakfast and lunch orders for the whole week.

Forsthoffer also announced that all five schools in the district would be donating medical masks and other materials to Bordentown Township Chief of Police Brian Pesce to be given out to police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other township officials in need of supplies.

Forsthoffer said that the district’s maintenance crew has told him there are a total of about five to six cartons of supplies that have been gathered up from each school.