NORTH BRUNSWICK – After surveying the families of more than 5,000 students in the North Brunswick School District and more than 1,100 staff members, district administrators have devised a reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year.
New Jersey’s schools were ordered to close in mid-March by Gov. Phil Murphy at the start of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. For the remainder of the school year, students received a remote (virtual) education at their homes.
Several weeks ago, Murphy directed school administrators to develop, in collaboration with community stakeholders, a plan to reopen schools in September in a manner that best fits a district’s local needs.
In a press release, the governor said, “This has been an unprecedented time for our students and educators, but we are pleased to announce we anticipate the return to our classrooms in some capacity this fall.
“The return to school will pose challenges, but we are confident New Jersey’s school districts can move forward in a way that best serves the needs of their district while also achieving a safe environment for students and staff,” Murphy said.
Guidance from the governor’s office describes the health and safety practices administrators should prioritize, including social distancing, the wearing of face masks, limiting capacity in classrooms and an increase in sanitation and disinfecting of surfaces.
“We are going through the responses and open ended comments with the district’s Return to School Committee,” Superintendent of Schools Brian Zychowski said. “The report, the results of the surveys and the recommendations will be sent out after the Board of Education reviews and publicly approves it at its July 29 meeting.”
Zychowski said district administrators want parents and families to know they are building on-site learning environments as directed by the New Jersey Department of Education, as well as a robust and rigorous virtual learning platform for families who cannot send their child(ren) to school in September.
“The committee is doing extensive planning for numerous and varied district programs in order to determine scheduling to facilitate learning while protecting the health and safety of students and staff.
“Additionally, a new and robust form of distance learning will also be created and, if necessary, implemented to meet the needs of students and families,” Zychowski said.
He said the most significant concerns regarding the reopening of schools is the health and safety of all students and staff members.
The next school board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. July 29. Instructions on how to access the meeting will be posted at nbtschools.org