FREEHOLD – The Freehold Borough K-8 School District Board of Education has approved a revised re-entry plan in which students receive fully remote instruction until the coronavirus risk in the borough decreases.
Board members approved the revised restart and re-entry plan on Dec. 14.
Since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all of the pupils in the district have been receiving remote instruction.
When the school year began in September, the COVID Regional Risk Assessment designated Monmouth County and Freehold Borough as having a moderate risk for the virus.
However, district administrators were unable to provide in-person instruction to students because of a lack of physical barriers between students and issues with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) filtration systems, Superintendent of Schools Rocco Tomazic said at the time.
Those issues were addressed by November, but the improved physical conditions in the schools coincided with an increase of coronavirus cases in New Jersey.
By the time the schools were ready to have students return for the first time since March, Monmouth County and Freehold Borough had been designated as high risk areas for the virus.
Upon receiving the high risk designation, district administrators pushed back the intended physical reopening of the buildings, which had been scheduled for December.
According to the revised restart and re-entry plan, students will not receive in-person instruction until Freehold Borough and Monmouth County reliably return to moderate risk status, according to district administrators.
Tomazic said that as of Dec. 23, Monmouth County was designated as a high risk area for the virus and Freehold Borough was designated as a very high risk area for the virus.
“Our facilities are ready to reopen,” he said. “(In the near future), we will have an updated survey for parents and guardians with several choices for restarting in-school hybrid instruction. We want to assess the latest preferences and focus on one approach to jump to when (schools are permitted to open).”
During the Dec. 14 meeting, board members passed a resolution of appreciation citing the efforts of the district’s employees for their work during the pandemic.
“The Board of Education thanks the faculty and staff for their ongoing efforts to mitigate any negative impact growing from virtual learning,” board members wrote in the resolution. “The board recognizes and commends each member of the district faculty and staff for their noteworthy efforts to maintain the quality of academic work and their students and will continue to work productively with the district faculty and staff to carry out a viable instructional program through the end of the current coronavirus pandemic period.”
And, the board accepted an additional $133,570 in elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds, which will be used to address areas most impacted by the coronavirus.