Governor Phil Murphy announced Wednesday in a decision that could change the back-to-school plan for many of the New Jersey state’s 1.4 million public school students.
Murphy’s announcement means that nearly 600 of the state’s school districts, previously being told they need to host at least some live classes to begin the 2020-21 school year, have a few weeks to complete next plan before the school year begins.
There is no one plan for all public school districts in the state, Murphy said. The state will continue to allow local school boards to make their own decisions about what̵7;s best for their school district.
“We recognize that, for some school districts, there are good and documented reasons why some of these core health and safety standards cannot be met by Day One, “Murphy said at his latest coronavirus press conference in Trenton. “For these school districts today we reaffirm our commitment to providing the flexibility for school districts to do what’s best for their school communities.”
According to the new amendment plan:
Both non-public and public schools must submit a certificate to the State Board of Education that they can meet state health and safety regulations, including guidance on how far away from the commune. Assembly, on the first day of live classes.
Schools will need to complete a checklist on the state Department of Education website that says they can accommodate more than 40 instructions for live classes. The items on the list include: social distance in the classroom and on the bus; safe school entry score; mask request; create a contact tracking plan; establishing safe eating practices for students; and a plan for recess classes and outside fitness.
– If schools say they cannot meet one or more of the instructions, school districts may request that the school year begin on distance learning.
– School districts licensed to start the distance school year will need to indicate they are making efforts to initiate the live classes at a later date. “Public school districts will need to map out their plans to meet these unmet standards, and one day they anticipate the possibility of continuing to teach,” Murphy said.
New, additional health guidelines for schools are “under construction” and will be available on Thursday, Murphy said.
State officials said they are unsure how many school districts have requested the start of remote schools, but said the majority of the school districts plan to incorporate some live classrooms.
Neely Hackett, Willingboro’s superintendent, said her district was among those requesting the start of the distance school year because their schools were not prepared for face-to-face classes. The district wants to close schools until the end of the first evaluation period in November.
“We are simply not ready to move forward,” Hackett said during the governor’s press conference.
Ultimately Willingboro wants to use a system that incorporates students coming to class two days a week on a rotating basis and studying at home for the remaining three days a week.
She listed some of the reasons Willingboro didn’t want to offer live classes including: inadequate ventilation and lack of air conditioning; re-order masks and other personal protective equipment; delay in the provision of physical barriers to be installed in schools; additional time required to purchase a computer; and more time is needed to train the teacher to teach both in the classroom and via video for students at home.
The East Brunswick director also attended the press conference and said his district is ready to offer live classes and will not ask for permission to stay at all remote schools.
Nearly 600 of the state’s school districts have begun submitting their reopening plan to the state Department of Education for approval. Several counties – including Elizabeth, Jersey City, Bayonne – said they plan to implement plans that do not include live classes, contrary to previous state guidelines.
The governor’s decision allows school districts more flexibility in how they reopen schools after intense pressure from teachers who feel unsafe to return to the classroom and a host of legislators and leaders. The district wants schools to close increasingly.
It also happened as New Jersey’s broader expansion effort to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic was largely stalled due to increased infection rates, leaving the state’s economic recovery in fill badger.
Murphy ordered all New Jersey schools to be closed starting March 18th. They remain closed until the end of the 2019-20 school year while students at thousands of public and private schools study remotely.
The governor’s plan to reopen the original school, announced in June, said public schools would be required to reopen at least partially. Some school districts have planned to limit direct instruction to students to half a day a week, while a few say they will offer five-day classes. Most school districts have a mix plan, which combines face-to-face classes with home learning several days a week.
When more parents asked to keep their children at home, Murphy in July announced all families would also have a complete remote option for the public school if they liked it. But school districts are still required to reopen plans with at least some classroom activities for all students.
Murphy previously said he believes opening face-to-face classes is crucial for New Jersey because many working and low-income parents don’t have the time, space or childcare options to go on. the custom of teaching children at home.
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