SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - At last night’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Scott Feder addressed a viral online petition asking the South Brunswick School District to adjust the school schedule and reduce screen time for remote learning. Feder said that he has read the petition, along with the heated debates on Facebook, and claimed that there was nothing that the board could do to meet these concerns.
The online petition on Change.org is demanding that the board continue with their current online model instead of the ‘synchronous model’ that schools will enact in November. According to the petition, the new class schedule will force students to look at a screen from 7:30 A.M to 1:55 P.M. Along with the time it takes to complete homework, students will be staring at a screen for eight hours a day.
“Pediatricians and even the American Health Association have both made statements regarding the excessive use of screens before COVID-19,” the petition reads, “the health risks of staring at a screen for almost 8 hours a day are unbeknownst to doctors, and may have devastating developmental effects on students of all ages.”
The new schedule would also reduce students’ lunch breaks from 60 minutes to 30 minutes. The petition claims that this would negatively impact students’ ability to learn as it takes away from their time to rest.
In last night’s meeting, Feder said that he will do everything he can to reduce the amount of screen time in a school day. On the issue of scheduling, Feder said that there is no way for the board to adjust to the petition’s demands.
“I have to put an end to this conversation, the schedule is not changing,” Feder said, “This is one of those brick walls, it is an immovable problem at this time.”
On November 16th, South Brunswick schools will officially enter phase three of their re-entry plan. Families will decide whether to send their children back to school or continue online learning. According to a recent survey from the board, over 70% of all South Brunswick families wish to continue on a remote model.