With New Jersey stuck in Phase 2 of reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts across Hudson County are determining how to reopen.
The North Bergen Board of Education approved its school reopening plan at its board meeting on Aug. 12.
It voted unanimously that students will begin virtual learning from home on Sept. 8. This follows similar determinations in Bayonne and Jersey City.
The North Bergen district will re-evaluate the plan after a month. School officials expect an Oct. 1 move to hybrid learning, consisting of in-person and virtual instruction. That decision will be made only if the data supports it.
The full virtual learning plan will be announced in the coming week.
This plan will include information regarding students’ virtual instruction schedule; expectations for students, parents, and staff; equitable access to technology, special and related services; lunch distribution.
Virtual learning plans allowed
Virtual learning was not initially part of the reopening plan that Gov. Phil Murphy presented to school districts. Following the approval of virtual instruction for some districts, Murphy announced changes on Aug. 13.
All schools, public and private, will reopen for in-person instruction. However, school districts can begin the year via remote-only instruction if they cannot adequately meet critical health and safety protocols outlined in the state’s school reopening guidelines.
“While we continue to believe that there is no substitute for being in the classroom, allowing districts to delay the implementation of in-person instruction will give them the time and flexibility they need to ensure buildings are ready and welcoming when they do open,” Murphy said.
Districts that need to delay the implementation of in-person instruction will be required to submit information to the Department of Education describing the health and safety standards that they are currently unable to meet, how they will address outstanding issues in a timely fashion, and a proposed timeline for reopening physical school spaces for in-person instruction.
Districts that can meet the health and safety protocols will open for in-person instruction in the fall, under Murphy’s executive order. If school buildings are open for in-person instruction on the first day of the 2020-2021 school year, districts must provide a remote learning option for parents or guardians who request it for their children.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.