METUCHEN – The Metuchen School District has requested to begin the 2020-21 school year all remote and begin its hybrid in-person plan on Oct. 1.
Schools Superintendent Vincent Caputo shared the request on his weekly social media post on Aug. 21.
“The Board of Education has authorized me to submit an application to begin the year remotely for students,” he said. “We do not take this decision lightly. We know many of our families have struggled since the spring. We understand the benefits of fully open public schools.”
The Metuchen School District transitioned to all-remote learning in March after it had to close its schools due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In its request to the state, Caputo cited limited air conditioning in all four school buildings, Moss School, Campbell School, Edgar School, and Metuchen High School.
“[We] believe that it would be very difficult for students to learn in the hot environment with masks all day,” he said. “The district is in the process of upgrading our building management system and needs time to ensure it is operating in all rooms across all buildings.”
The district anticipates to begin the hybrid in-person Roomers and Zoomers plan on Oct. 1, which the district presented to the public on Aug. 3.
“The month of October will bring cooler temperatures, reducing the heat burden on teachers and students, allowing them to more easily wear masks full-time,” he said. “This will improve the teaching and learning process. Once the building management system upgrade is complete, we will make every effort to ensure its proper operation. The new system will help us ensure that we are meeting recommendations regarding outside air intake in all rooms.”
The district is considering bringing back its most needy students in phases throughout September, prior to the return of all students.
“If this is feasible, it will be determined on a case-by-case basis,” Caputo said.
The 2020-21 school year will begin on Sept. 3. All teachers are required to report in-person on Sept. 1. Each school day will follow the regular full-day building schedules. The Metuchen Board of Education will meet on Aug. 25 to further discuss details of the 2020-21 school year and take questions from the public. Building principals will release more details in the coming weeks.
For more information, visit www.metuchenschools.org.