RED BANK – Administrators in the Red Bank Borough Public Schools are planning to incorporate a hybrid program of in-person and remote (virtual) instruction for students when the 2020-21 school year begins in September.
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 2019-20 school year, students received a remote education at their homes.
Several weeks ago, Murphy directed school administrators to develop, in collaboration with community stakeholders, a plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 school year in September in a manner that best fits a district’s local needs.
In Red Bank, district administrators provided information to the public on July 29 regarding their plan to reopen schools in September.
“Our Leadership Team, Restart Committee and Board of Education are collaborating to provide the safest possible environment for our students and staff while maximizing in-person instructional time,” administrators said.
“Our overall plan reflects guidance provided by the New Jersey Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Jersey Department of Health and the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission, as well as feedback received from family and staff surveys.”
According to district administrators, their current plan when schools reopen will be to place students into two cohorts.
One cohort of students will attend school for in-person instruction on Monday and Tuesday and receive virtual instruction on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; the other cohort of students will attend school for in-person instruction on Thursday and Friday and receive virtual instruction on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Our plan is to place families with multiple children throughout the district in the same cohort,” district administrators said. “This will allow (parents or guardians) to plan for child care in advance.”
All students will receive virtual instruction on Wednesday, which district administrators said will include live content, pre-recorded content, whole class meetings, small group meetings, small group intervention and/or enrichment, and independent practice.
The virtual instruction will also provide students with assignments to complete under the direction of a teacher.
“On days students are assigned to virtual instruction, teachers will have the opportunity to check in with students at a designated time,” administrators said. “Based on feedback, we feel it is important for every child to connect with their teacher(s) daily.”
As part of the virtual instruction, district administrators said they plan to distribute Chromebook laptop computers with protective cases to all students in early September.
According to district administrators, face masks will be required for all students on buses and in school until further notice. District staff members will be required to wear cloth masks and face shields.
Exemptions to the face mask requirement will include staff/students with medical conditions, students with disabilities, and circumstances in which appropriate social distancing can be guaranteed.
District administrators said students should provide their own school-appropriate cloth face covering. If a child forgets a face covering, the district will provide a disposable face covering for the day.
The starting date for students will be Sept. 14. The 2020-21 school year is scheduled to have 180 days of student instruction and will follow a trimester schedule, according to district administrators.