FLEMINGTON, NJ - The Flemington-Raritan Regional School District is ahead of schedule in moving its near 3,000 students back into the classrooms.

Preschool resumed at Copper Hill Elementary School on Sept. 21, and the district’s neediest special education students also returned to school.

On Oct. 5 – ahead of the Nov. 2 targeted date originally announced – the district will begin to phase other students into a hybrid learning model.

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Students will attend in-person classes one week and virtual classes the following week, rotating in two cohorts. All students are expected to be phased in by Oct. 12.

“The mission of the Flemington-Raritan Regional School District is to support every student, every day, at every opportunity,” Dr. Kari McGann, superintendent of schools, wrote in an email. “We are working closely with each school pandemic response team, building administrators, the Hunterdon County Health Department and the board of education to prioritize safely returning students in phases beginning Sept. 21.”

The hybrid learning model is Tier 3 of a five-tier plan for moving the district from virtual learning into the classroom full time.   

Tier 4 will include the addition of school-sponsored activities. Tier 5 is full-time in-classroom learning.

Currently, the district is supporting community-based sports by allowing them, including football and lacrosse teams, to have use of the outdoor facilities in accordance with New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association rules and regulations. The teams are required to provide their own insurance and follow NJSIAA rules.

“I’m not ready to do that with our students yet because my priority is getting our students back in school,” McGann said.

The district has received personal protective equipment and met indoor air quality requirements, allowing the reopening of its facilities. Fall weather is helping in that arena as well, McGann noted, “especially now that the weather is cooler and windows can be opened up and cooler air circulated in our buildings that are not air conditioned.”

“We are also successfully screening all staff, students and visitors before they enter our buildings,” she added.

Masks and social distancing are also required at all school facilities.

McGann will recommend the board of education to approve the hybrid model plan at the board meeting on Oct. 1.