Spotswood superintendent outlines hybrid model to reopen schools

Memorial Middle School students at the school's new Spotswood Education Foundation Outdoor Learning Courtyard.

SPOTSWOOD– With the first day of school in Spotswood set to be Sept. 2, Superintendent of Schools Graham Peabody announced the Spotswood Public School District’s hybrid reopening plans for the 2020-21 academic year.

On July 20, Gov. Phil Murphy declared that all schools must provide a remote learning option for parents who don’t want to send their children to school in-person. Like many schools throughout the state, Peabody said the district will provide a remote learning option for parents who don’t want to send their children to school in-person.

“Given the circumstances that families are facing they should definitely have that flexibility. So [on July 30] at our board meeting we kind of preempted that discussion,” Peabody said.

Peabody said the board approved two restart models for the fall, the first being a full remote model and the second being a hybrid model.

“Model one, which we are moving forward with, is a full virtual model for the first marking period next year should the governor give us the flexibility to use it,” Peabody said. “Model two is our hybrid model and that model will be in effect until the governor gives us that flexibility.”

Conditions for the hybrid model include:

  • Social distancing by reducing contact capacity and contact time
  • Masks
  • Hygiene

Although the district will be using a hybrid schedule, Peabody said parents still have the option to their children remain completely virtual.

The Hybrid model will include:


  • Students divided into cohorts, with part-time in-person instruction and part-time virtual instruction.
  • Mirrors in-person schedule
  • Live/Live stream instruction, interaction
  • Virtual office hours
  • For attendance, there will be virtual check-in during class and daily work
  • Parental support/access to resources




“We absolutely do have concerns and we are going to do everything that we can to mitigate any of those concerns for students and that obviously would include more live interactions between our staff and our students and that would obviously be teachers, guidance counselors, support staff and administration,” Peabody said. “So trying to find ways that we are continually checking live whether that’s through Zoom or through live streaming classrooms. So that would be a core component.”

Peabody said the district has also built into its virtual and hybrid schedule office hours on a daily basis for students and teachers to check in at the end of the day. There are also office hours for parents to check in with teachers.

For the hybrid schedule, Peabody said students will be placed into either Group A or Group B.

Group A’s weekly school schedule will include:

  • In-person Monday-Tuesday 
  • Virtual Interaction Monday-Tuesday
  • All virtual on Wednesday
  • Virtual Thursday-Friday 
  • Virtual Interaction Thursday-Friday 

Group B’s weekly school schedule will include:

  • In-person Thursday-Friday 
  • Virtual Interaction Thursday-Friday
  • All virtual Wednesday
  • Virtual Monday-Tuesday
  • Virtual Interaction Monday-Tuesday 

Peabody said the new hybrid school fall semester start times will be as follows:

  • Spotswood High School will start 7:15-7:35 a.m.
  • Memorial Middle School will start 7:15-7:35 a.m.
  • Appleby Elementary School will start 7:45-8:15 a.m.
  • For Schonely Primary School’s kindergartners to first graders, the start time is from 8:20-8:35 a.m.
  • For Schonely Primary School’s pre-kindergarteners the start time is 8:30 a.m.

“If parents have concerns about their children that can be expressed to their teacher at that time. Being a small community everybody in Spotswood knows each other so we have a lot of great organizations,” Peabody said. “During the board meeting, I mentioned our incredible energetic and innovative … PTA, our Spotswood Education Foundation and our Spotswood Recreation Department worked all spring to make sure that kids were given every opportunity virtually or in some kind of safe location where they could continually have the opportunity for socializing.”

Peabody said it’s the district’s goal to more effectively partner with these organizations to ensure that students are receiving those needed socialization needs.

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