Princeton expands in-school learning


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Barring prohibitions at the state level, the Princeton Public Schools will be fully opened for five-day, in-person instruction in September, said Barry Galasso, the district’s interim superintendent of schools.

But in the meantime, the school district is inching its way toward expanding more in-person instruction beginning this week, school district officials said.

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“As vaccines become more available and educators receive priority, more of our faculty will feel confident in spending time in our buildings,” Galasso said. “Many staff members have been able to sign up to be vaccinated (against COVID-19). As more teachers are vaccinated, it makes it easier for us to return to normal,” Galasso said.

The expansion of in-person learning applies to students who have chosen the hybrid option. Hybrid learning alternates bringing small groups of students into the classroom for in-person instruction for part of the week, and learning remotely part of the week.

Students whose families have chosen all-remote learning will continue to learn at home, school district officials said. They are not affected by the decision to expand in-person learning.

Beginning this week, Princeton High School and Princeton Middle School students who chose the hybrid option have been in the classroom five mornings per week.

There will be opportunities for “extended learning” in the afternoon for high school and middle school students. High school students may participate in afterschool clubs and activities on campus after the end of the school day at 3:21 p.m.

The elementary schools will expand in-person instruction for second-grade students to four days per week, beginning this week. Students in grades 3-5 will be phased in for four days of in-person instruction during the rest of March and April.

All in-person instruction for elementary school students will be held in the morning. There will be afternoon instruction for elementary school students, but it will be held remotely.

Kindergarten and first-grade students have been receiving in-person instruction five days per week since September 2020. Pre-Kindergarten students now will have in-person instruction five days per week beginning in April.

However, all students will participate in remote learning during the week of April 12, following the prior week’s spring break. The number of students and staff who may need to quarantine makes it a necessity for one week of remote learning, school district officials said.

Tents are expected to arrive April 1. One large tent and four smaller tents will be installed at each school to provide expanded space for activities. Classes may be rotated into the tents for snack time, so children are eating outdoors with natural ventilation.

School district officials will follow recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the New Jersey Department of Health and the Princeton Health Department.

Six-foot distancing will be maintained wherever possible, school district officials said. Classes with larger enrollments will be moved to large sites, such as the gym or art or music classrooms.

In classrooms where it is not possible to maintain a six-foot distance, plexiglass barriers will be installed between students’ desks. All children are required to wear face masks, and the students’ desks already face in one direction.



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