The Cranbury School District has recently made the decision to shutdown in-person instruction at the school until Dec. 4.
All Cranbury School students switched to fully remote on Nov. 12, with a future decision on whether to return to in-person hybrid instruction set be announced on or prior to the Dec. 4 date.
The switch to fully remote follows unrelated confirmed COVID-19 cases at the school in October, since the school’s return to in-person instruction on Oct. 19; and a recent rise in confirmed cases statewide.
“As part of the district’s reopening plan, a set of metrics were included to guide the decision-making process to determine when in-person or fully remote is appropriate,” Superintendent and Principal Susan Genco said. “We will follow the guidance set forth by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. When case(s) arise at the school, the administration will work with the Middlesex County Health Department regarding individual circumstances and local factors.”
The district administration’s determination of whether in-person instruction can resume will involve using the New Jersey Regional Risk Matrix and an assessment of the district’s ability to provide substitute teachers.
According to New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) guidance for local health departments and schools, the NJ Regional Risk Matrix provides guidance for schools on actions they should take based on the level of COVID-19 risk in their region. There are four categories: Low Risk, Moderate Risk, High Risk and Very High Risk. Each category has a list of recommendations regarding the type of instruction recommended: in-person, hybrid and remote.
A new target date will be announced if a return to in-person instruction cannot occur by the Dec. 4 deadline set by the district.
When the Cranbury School began its hybrid model for instruction in October about 30% or 137 students would still go on to participate in the fully remote option provided by the district out 458 enrolled for the 2020-21 school year.
“During the month of November, we received some parent requests for students to change from hybrid to fully remote instruction for various reasons. We do anticipate additional parent requests in either direction as the school year progresses,” Genco said.
However, the administration is confident that students will stay on track with learning achievements, even though there may be intermittent periods for shutting down and returning the hybrid model as the year progresses.
“We recognized early on that the possibility existed for immediate or intermittent shifts in instructional models. Due to the fact that we began the school year fully remote, our teachers and students are fully prepared to quickly pivot from one learning model to another with minimal disruption to instruction,” Genco said. “Teachers prepared additional supplies and materials for their students and parents were able to pick them up at the school on Nov. 13. I am confident that students will remain on track given the strong partnership between home and school.”
She also credited the families for responding quickly to the shift.
“I respect their understanding and support to keep our students and faculty safe,” Genco said.