Tinton Falls prepares reopening plan for 2020-21 academic year

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TINTON FALLS – Administrators in the Tinton Falls K-8 School District are planning to combine in-person instruction with remote (virtual) learning when schools open in September.

Parents who do not want to send their children to school will be permitted to select an all-remote educational option.

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 education remotely from 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.

Murphy later said an all-remote educational option must be provided for parents who do not want to send their children into a school.

In a presentation posted online, administrators detailed their plan for a schedule that will include a combination of virtual and in-person instruction.

According to district administrators, a survey parents were asked to respond to regarding the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 academic year yielded 872 responses.

Of the responses, 62.9% of the respondents said they plan to send their children to school and have them follow social distancing and face covering rules; 25.1% of the respondents said they were undecided at the time they answered the survey; 11.1% of the respondents said they plan to have their children only participate in remote learning; and 0.9% of the respondents said they plan to remove their children from the district and homeschool them.

District administrators said students will be placed into two groups (by name). One group will attend school on Monday and Tuesday and receive virtual instruction on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The second group will attend school on Thursday and Friday and receive virtual instruction on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Students who have language learning disabilities, attend contained classrooms, are English language learners or are homeless will receive in-person instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, according to district administrators.

All students will have the option to receive an all-remote education.

Students and staff members will be required to wear a face mask when they are in school. Classrooms will comply with social distancing protocols. Hallways and stairwells will be marked to guide the flow of student traffic and to allow for social distancing.

District administrators said parents will complete a daily checklist pertaining to children who are attending school.

The checklist will be reviewed by the school nurse for completeness and symptoms listed. Any student without a completed checklist will be screened by the nurse, including a temperature check, and will be asked questions on the checklist.

If a student is too young or is unable to answer the nurse’s questions, a parent will be contacted. If the staff is unable to obtain answers for a student, the child will not be permitted to attend class until the questions are answered, according to district administrators.