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Posted Friday, June 26th, 2020

Districts Will Craft Unique Learning Setups

Gov. Phil Murphy today announced that schools will resume in-person classes starting in September, and released a 104-page “Restart and Recovery Plan for Education” that will guide school districts across the sin how they will operate in the fall.

The Governor, at his daily COVID-19 briefing, said schools districts will be given “great flexibility” in creating learning environments, depending on each district’s unique geographic, demographic, and economic circumstances, which could lead to a wide variety of instructional offerings across the state.

COVID-19: Governor Announces In-Person School Classes to Resume in Sept. -- Flexibility for Districts

School districts will have the ability to set up a hybrid of in-person classes and remote learning, if needed, he said. Also, he cautioned that school districts must be prepared to return to full-time remote leaning if COVID-19 were to have a major resurgence in the fall.

“The COVID-19 pandemic impacted every aspect of our lives. As we look to the future and plan for students to return to schools in-person this fall, we must recognize and prepare for the ways the virus and necessary public health response has changed and will change the way students learn,” he said.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach we can take,” he said, stressing the health of students and staff would remain a priority.

Gov. Murphy suggested there may be smaller class sizes, with social distancing; wearing of face coverings by staff and students and visitors, whenever possible; the likely end to cafeteria eating, with students to have lunch at their desks; among other possibilities. Enhanced technology also is vital to the upcoming school year, he noted.

The Governor said school busing would present a unique challenge, with face coverings, social distancing, and regular and intensive cleaning of vehicles essential.

He said the Restart and Recovery Plan was developed by educators and stakeholders, including parents and teachers, plus a special committee comprised of two dozen school superintendents from across the state (he was joined at today’s briefing by Mount Olive School Superintendent Robert Zywicki).

The plan should provides educators and administrators with the information necessary to ensure that schools reopen safely and are prepared to accommodate students’ unique needs during this unprecedented time, the Governor said.

State officials said the guidelines were released today to allow school districts to have the entire summer to plan for the 2020-2021 school year.