ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury schools will edge closer to normalcy on Nov. 16 when the district will move to “Phase II Hybrid” status, said schools superintendent Loretta Radulic on Thursday.

She said parents have until Oct. 21 to let the district know if their children “will remain learning in their current format or if they would like to change to either an expanded in-person hybrid or fully virtual format.” This is to be done using a form that is in the Genesis Parent Portal.

“If you can’t fly then run,” said Radulic in her message to parents, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. “If you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. We are not flying yet, but we are striving to move forward.”

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Starting Nov. 16, barring any COVID-19 related situations that force a change, Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools will run at full capacity, with no blue/gold cohorts, for 4-hour-long days Tuesday through Friday, Radulic said. Virtual Mondays will continue.

The high school will be open for full days but at half-capacity. Lunch will be served and there will be live-streaming of classes on days when students are not on site, said the superintendent.

She said Virtual Mondays will stop at the end of the year. Jan 4 will be “an in-person instructional day,” Radulic said.

'Anything Can Happen'

Gov. Phil Murphy has banned in-school teaching on Nov. 3, Election Day. The annual New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) Convention takes place on Nov. 5 and Nov. 6. So, all instructions will be remote on Nov. 2, Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, Radulic said.

“A quick word of caution: This is 2020 and anything can happen,” the superintendent warned. “So, even with our preparations underway, we need to continue to monitor the health and wellness of our district.”

Because of that uncertainty, Radulic said she will send out a Honeywell message on Nov. 11 confirming that the proposed Phase II schedule will take place.

Although Roxbury Mayor Bob DeFillippo this week announced an increase in COVID-19 cases among people with Roxbury addresses – including students away at college, Radulic said Roxbury schools have done well.

“While three of our seven schools experienced events that required quarantining of classes, there has been no transmission of the coronavirus in our schools,” she said. “I sincerely believe that is due to the precautions that the district has taken coupled with the responsibility practiced by the community. It will be imperative that we remain vigilant, responsible and work together as we expand on-site instruction.”

The changes might result in more students riding school buses, according to Radulic. “We will continue to have students wear masks on the buses, run the air purifiers and keep the windows open,” she said, urging parents to inform the district’s transportation department if they decide to drive their kids to school.

“While flexibility and responsibility have been the keys to our success thus far, we also need to highlight appreciation in our current experience,” Radulic said. “Appreciation that we are beginning our trek back to a typical and traditional school day. Appreciation for the cooperation of our community. And appreciation for the hard work of a dedicated staff.”

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