The Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education is planning to eliminate the hybrid model of instruction that has been in place during the 2020-21 school year and to bring as many students as possible back into its six high schools for the fourth and final marking period of the current academic year.
Given that plan, parents of the district’s 10,400 pupils had a decision to make by March 25. According to district administrators, all families were required to select one of two learning options for their child for the fourth marking period that will begin on April 21.
Those options were:
• In-person learning for five days per week following a partial day schedule;
• Full-time remote learning following a partial day schedule.
District administrators said the FRHSD will not offer the hybrid model of instruction – which offered students a combination of in-person instruction several days a week and remote instruction on the remaining days of the week – after April 20.
Superintendent of Schools Charles Sampson addressed the issue during the board meeting on March 11 when he discussed the plan for the fourth marking period of the 2020-21 school year.
All of this is occurring as New Jersey residents are continuing to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Sampson said students began returning to five-day in-person instruction in February. The district has maintained the hybrid instructional model and the full remote instructional model since that time.
The superintendent said administrators are planning to move away from the hybrid model, which he said has been a challenge for students.
“We have had a lot of success bringing our students back. A number of our parents who originally indicated they did not want their child in school five days a week are now saying they want their child in school five days a week.
“Our hope is to move there at the start of the fourth marking period on April 21 (and) to bring more students into five-day in-person learning, and that might result in some other changes to our physical structure. More than 50% of our students are on the full remote option,” Sampson said on March 11.
Regarding the hybrid model of instruction, the superintendent said, “The one thing (people) agree on is that the hybrid model is very difficult. We have been able to deliver that for our students, and our faculty has done a wonderful job, but it is a tough place to stay.
” … Once we see what the numbers look like (after parents decided by March 25), we will make an informed decision about what is going to happen to the fourth marking period in terms of bringing students back five days a week,” he said.
During his remarks at the March 11 board meeting, Sampson said he believes a full remote instructional option for students will exist during the 2021-22 school year.
However, in an article published on nj.com on March 24, Gov. Phil Murphy was quoted as saying administrators in every school district in New Jersey should prepare to be open for five full days of in-person instruction in September, with no option for fully remote instruction during the 2021-22 academic year.