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Freehold Township K-8 schools move to fully remote instruction

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Students in the Freehold Township K-8 School District will receive fully remote instruction for the remainder of December and into early January during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Students who had been receiving in-person instruction in a hybrid model of in-person and remote instruction may be permitted to resume in-person instruction on Jan. 11.

During the 2020-21 school year, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many pupils had been receiving their education in the hybrid model. Two cohorts of students had been attending school on alternating days each week.

Some children have been receiving fully remote instruction if their parents selected that option at the beginning of the school year.

On Nov. 23, Superintendent of Schools Neil Dickstein informed parents the district would switch to fully remote instruction due to an increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases across the school district. The switch to fully remote instruction took effect on Nov. 30.

Administrators were hoping to resume the hybrid model by Dec. 14, but in a Dec. 9 letter to parents, Dickstein said fully remote instruction would continue for the remainder of the month and into January.

He explained that the decision to keep students and staff members out of the schools was based on available data and on the New Jersey Department of Health placement of Freehold Township’s region in a high risk category for the virus.

Dickstein said the student cohorts may be combined by Feb. 1, which would allow students to physically attend school five days a week. The hybrid model does not provide for in-person instruction five days a week.

“This decision weighed heavily on me as we progressed through the last week,” the superintendent wrote on Dec. 9. “However, I am confident it is the best decision to balance educating our students and keeping our students and staff safe.

“Bringing back students and staff to in-person learning too soon could result in them being quarantined and out of school for a longer period of time as we implement protocols required when we are in the (high risk) status.

“As we continue virtual learning and embark upon winter break, please help keep our community cases of COVID down by wearing a mask and socially distancing.

“Our ability to resume in-person learning effectively is contingent upon the number of positive cases of COVID in our community. Please do your part to help us resume our hybrid model and subsequently welcome students back to school five days per week successfully,” Dickstein wrote.

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