At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has released guidance on reopening schools for the 2020-2021 academic year.
“With these unprecedented final months of the school year behind us, our focus turns to what will be an equally unprecedented start to the 2020-2021 school year,” Murphy said. “We have every expectation that our kids will return to their schools come September.”
Murphy added that while the guidance outlines the standards that every school must follow in order to reopen, it also comes with flexibility for districts to ensure an effective implementation strategy that meets their unique needs.
The guidance includes minimum standards such as following certain social distancing practices in classrooms and face covering measures for students and staff, and provides recommendations to assist districts in achieving these standards, such as implementing hybrid learning environments in which students receive both in-person and remote instruction.
Murphy did add that districts will need to be prepared to pivot to remote instruction at any time during the 2020-2021 school year in the event that public health data takes a turn for the worse.
NJDOE developed the guidance with input from various educators and stakeholders including superintendents, education and community organizations, and parents and guardians.
“New Jersey educators and families did an amazing job over the past three months implementing remote learning, even with relatively little time for planning. That effort was nothing short of heroic,” said NJDOE Commissioner Lamont Repollet. “However, too many parents feel that remote-only instruction isn’t working for their child, and too many children are falling behind. It is becoming abundantly clear that children need to return to a school environment in some capacity, and we need to do so safely.”
Some key aspects of the guidance include:
The full school reopening guidance can be found here.
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