BARNEGAT, NJ - Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Latwis sent an email message to Barnegat school district families earlier this week regarding reopening in September. The district is working on plans for a hybrid model of in-person instruction and remote learning.  Latwis asked parents to complete a survey as a means of soliciting input in the decision-making process.

The mandatory survey is due back on Monday and needs to be completed on behalf of each public school student. One of the questions requests that parents choose between three options. These include participation in the hybrid model, virtual learning alone, or homeschooling which entails withdrawing the student from the Barnegat School district.

District leaders have set up a task force dedicated to the reopening plan. Board of Education Vice President Robert Geddes and Board Member Doreen Continanza are both part of the thirty-member committee. Others include school administrators, as well as the management team for facilities, building and grounds, and transportation.

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Teachers are also on the task force, as well as three parents who already serve on the Citizens Advisory Committee set up in conjunction with the district’s reconfiguration. Justin Deemer, Jill Panico and Allison Sharkey are the parent representatives.

“We already had our first meeting and sent out the survey,” said Latwis. “We plan to meet again twice next week to review the input from parents and come up with what is best for our students.”

Latwis emphasized that the district must follow the state guidelines, which are captured in a 104-page document entitled “The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education.”pdf

“I am already hearing back from parents that they are upset that their children will have to wear masks for the entire day,” said the Barnegat School Superintendent. “However, that’s not what the guidelines call for – or what we plan to implement.”

The state directives emphasize the need for social distancing to the maximum extent possible. Teachers will be required to wear masks throughout the school day. Although students are not mandated to wear face coverings at all times, the state encourages their use. They will be required when students will be in situations putting them less than six feet apart.

Although the development of reopening plans is in the beginning stages, the task force is looking into implementation of a modified schedule. Preliminary discussions as far as the hybrid model suggest two or three days of in-school classes.

“I appreciate that the administration has decided to include parents in the reopening plans,” said Deemer. “Dr. Latwis has really made a concerted effort to get input from us.”

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