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No delays in return to in-person learning for HVRSD

The Hopewell Valley Regional School District administration building in Pennington.

The Hopewell Valley Regional School District returns as planned to hybrid learning following a switch to full-remote instruction coming off of winter break.

There will be no delays to in-person instruction and on Jan. 19 the hybrid model resumes once again throughout the district. There are six schools within the district – Hopewell Valley Central High School (HVCHS), Timberlane Middle School (TMS), Toll Gate Grammar School, Hopewell Elementary School, Bear Tavern Elementary School and Stony Brook Elementary School.

“We are moving forward with our plan for students and staff members to return to hybrid learning on Tuesday. We are constantly reviewing the number of cases in our community and we are in regular communication with the Department of Health,” Superintendent of Schools Thomas Smith said. “Based on this information, we are comfortable moving forward. The vast majority of our in-district cases have involved either fully remote students or students who were self quarantining due to exposure outside of school.”

He added that to date, the district has not had any in-school transmission.

Additionally, a letter released by the district administration on Jan. 15 stated that the administration does not anticipate another scheduled move to fully remote learning for all district students. If a move to full-remote learning is deemed necessary it would be due to school-based, in-person positive COVID-19 cases.

The district will continue with its protocol to close individual schools within the district for one to two days to deep clean facilities and complete contact tracing. The protocol was created last year for positive cases in individual schools.

If a situation such as closing of a school does arrive class instruction for that school  transitions to remote learning during that period. No other schools in the district are to close, only the school where the student attends or staff member works.

What will be new for the district now is the administration’s decision to notify the district families and staff about positive cases involving remote staff and students. From the start of the current school year the district has been informing parents, students and staff of cases arising at schools in the district.

Focusing on the future, the district still aims to return to a five-day a week, full-instructional program to finish out the 2020-21 school year. According to the district, focus groups will be conducted for remote families over the next two weeks and Presidents Day weekend of Feb. 15 and spring break (March 29-April 1) are the anticipated dates that the district would make any changes.

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