MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Kim Norsworthy Kondak, Madhu Pai and Ariel Dybner are all South Orange Maplewood School District parents who have decided to send their children for the in person hybrid learning option this fall.

“I’m not going to judge anybody else for their decision,” said Dybner, who has 3 children at Maplewood Middle School, adding that he’s been 100% committed to sending his kids back to school since everything shut down. 

“I’m going with the course I’m used to,” said Kondak, who has one child at MMS and one at Columbia High School. “Even if it’s not perfect, it's one factor that I can control.” 

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Kondak says she is hopeful that the district has learned from last semester's mistakes. She expects that over these past few months the district has taken the time to train teachers on this new way of instruction.

Pai, who served on the Board of Education from 2012-2019, thinks the lack of synchronous virtual learning this spring will have set kids back. This partially informed her decision to send her kids back to South Orange Middle School and CHS for in person classes. 

As for the virtual component to the school year, “it can’t be worse than last semester,” said Kondak. All three parents are hopeful that Canvas will positively impact online learning this fall. Dybner believes the combination of in person and Canvas classes will do well to keep students motivated.

“Having all the teachers on one platform is good,” said Pai. “And you can go in and see how a teacher is using it and how your students are doing.”

“The benefits of in person learning greatly outweigh those of social isolation,” said Dybner, who says his children are looking forward to seeing their friends whose families have also opted for in person learning.

Families have until Friday to submit their form telling the district whether they will be sending their kids to school in the fall.



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