As more and more New Jersey public school districts opt to return to remote learning for the fall term, the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools have decided to institute a different kind of hybrid plan – remote learning for academic courses and in-person classes for career and technical education.
When school reopens Sept. 3, students on the East Brunswick, Perth Amboy and Piscataway campuses will receive in-person instruction for their career-major and physical education classes and will be online for their academic classes, such as English, history and math, according to information provided by the school district.
Students at the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies in Edison and the Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge will either receive in-person or virtual instruction, depending on their parents’ preference.
The district had planned to have all students attend classes in person at 50% capacity, divided by alphabetical order, alternating between two and three days of in-person instruction per week, with the remaining days online, according to the statement.
Superintendent of Schools Dianne D. Veilleux explained that the thinking began to change in mid-August as Gov. Phil Murphy offered parents the option of choosing all-remote learning.
Surveys undertaken by MCVTS principals found that 30-60% of parents would choose remote learning.
“We just don’t have enough teachers to cover all the bases,” Veilleux said in the statement. “When the principals tried to cover all the classes, it became more and more difficult. We can give the students, in effect, their full in-person career-major instruction. Our kids are experiential learners – that’s where they excel.”
MCVTS offers 34 career majors, including such subjects as advanced manufacturing, engineering, building services, health careers, graphic arts, automotive technology, cosmetology, baking and culinary arts, dance, music and theater.
The students will be divided by class with each group alternating between two and three days of shop classes a week. The school day will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with staggered dismissals to promote social distancing, according to the statement.
Teachers in academic subjects will teach remotely from their classrooms unless a medical condition necessitates teaching from their homes.
Teachers in the two academies will teach both remote and in-person classes, but not at the same time.
All of the safety protocols mandated by the state will be observed, with both students and staff required to wear face coverings while in the school buildings, according to the statement. Outdoor settings will be used as much as possible for physical education classes and lunches.
Parents are required to conduct health screenings daily and report the status of their children online. Students entering a school building will undergo a temperature check. Students will be encouraged to wash hands frequently and all equipment will be sanitized between uses.