NORTH BRUNSWICK – The school year is off to a successful start in North Brunswick.
Doors – or computers – opened on Sept. 8 for the first day of school, as the North Brunswick Township School District began the 2020-21 school year fully remote.
“It’s been a great, positive start. There are so many positive comments from the families because we improved and synchronized from the past closure in the spring” due to the coronavirus pandemic, Superintendent of Schools Brian Zychowski said.
Although there were some technological issues – such as Google Meets being overwhelmed and shutting down, some Google “bombs,” some WiFi issues among the 6,500 students at home and teachers in the classrooms, and some students accessing other districts’ classes – Zychowski said the issues were “nothing overwhelming.”
“With all of those obstacles, it’s been very, very well received,” he said. “Our kids are resilient, our staff has been accommodating.”
The superintendent said every day that passes is a day closer to beginning in-person instruction, which is currently planned for Nov. 23.
However, Zychowski said administrators are monitoring statewide numbers and may introduce subgroups before then.
“We are trying to keep our promise to phase in [students],” he said. “It’s a step-by-step process to make sure our students are safe, our staff is safe, and we do it the right way.”
Zychowski said the situation due to COVID-19 is unprecedented and has been in a state of flux, but the superintendent said the attitude of everyone in the district is to be resilient, flexible, proactive and adaptive.
He also said he does not want North Brunswick students to be “data points,” so although they look forward to a comeback as soon as possible, everyone must be safe and secure first.
In related news, the North Brunswick Township Middle School has been completed, on time and under budget after three years of construction, and is awaiting the arrival of students.
The new seventh and eighth grade school is the first school to be built in 40 years, and is part of a $77 million referendum that was approved in December 2016 to relieve overcrowding in the district’s schools. The project was funded in part by a grant from the state. The school is at Renaissance Boulevard North and Dawn Way.
Zychowski lauded district administrators for their work to reduce a 30-year bond at 4% interest to a 22-year bond at just over 2% interest.
“It’s remarkable work,” he said. “We are living up to the promises we made.”
Although an official ribbon cutting has been postponed due to the pandemic, a video introduction is available at https://vimeo.com/450246810/94586d9a5a
The grade levels are now: pre-kindergarten through fourth grade at the district’s four elementary schools; fifth and sixth grades at Linwood School; seventh and eighth grades at the middle school; and grades 9-12 at North Brunswick Township High School.
Currently, the district is renting space at Lightbridge Academy, Acelero and Our Lady of Lourdes in Milltown for its preschool program.
The next phase includes an addition to Linwood School, which Zychowski said should be completed by May. The Early Childhood Center, which serves 3- and 4-year-olds who have special needs, is currently leased from Our Lady of Lourdes, but should begin at Linwood next September.
The Board of Education offices, in the old Maple Meade School on Georges Road, will be moved to Linwood as well.
Contact Jennifer Amato at email@example.com