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Red Bank public schools will begin new academic year on Sept. 14

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RED BANK – The Red Bank Borough Public Schools Board of Education has approved a plan that will offer a hybrid model 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 remained at home and received instruction remotely.

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Earlier this summer, Murphy directed school administrators to develop a plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 academic year in a manner that best fits a district’s local needs. The governor initially mandated in-person instruction for all students.

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

The governor changed course again when he said a school district could open with 100% remote instruction if administrators could not meet certain criteria to safely reopen buildings to students and staff members.

Numerous school districts are seeking to use the 100% remote option, but Red Bank is not among them.

On Aug. 11, members of the board approved a plan that will begin on Sept. 14 and see students divided into four cohorts.

Two cohorts will consist of children whose parents have selected the hybrid model of in-person and remote instruction, according to district administrators.

Students in the first of those two cohorts will attend school for in-person instruction on Monday and Tuesday and receive remote instruction on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Students in the second of those two cohorts will attend school for in-person instruction on Thursday and Friday and receive remote instruction on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The third cohort will consist of students in self-contained special education classrooms who will receive in-person instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

The fourth cohort will consist of students whose parents selected the option of 100% remote instruction.

Students will be required to wear a face mask on their bus and in school until further notice. Staff members will be required to wear cloth masks and face shields.

Exemptions to the face mask requirement will include staff members and students who have a medical condition; students who have a disability; and circumstances in which appropriate social distancing can be guaranteed.

District administrators said students should provide their own cloth face covering. If a child forgets a face covering, the district will provide a disposable face covering for the day.

Students who attend school will be permitted to bring a clear water bottle that may be refilled during the day. The use of water fountains will be limited to students filling a water bottle.

The complete reopening plan may be viewed on the school district’s website.

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