BARNEGAT, NJ - The word pandemic has more than a foreboding sound to it, It's enough to make several school districts consider their instructional options. Barnegat public school students won't head to their regular classrooms next week. Instead, their teachers will interact with them through distance learning.

The coronavirus has shut down Broadway, major sporting competitions and more. The concerns warranted calls for both state and national emergency designations. In a letter this evening, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Latwis, advised staff of how the district plans to act.

"On Monday, you are to report to your assigned schools for a meeting with administration," Latwis said. "After the meeting, you will be given time to go to your classrooms, and collect any essential materials and resources to work from home."

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Tuesday, March 17th, the district begins its virtual schooling plan. Teachers will be engaged and present throughout the process.  Parents are also receiving notice of the distance learning plan.

In the letter to parents, Latwis advises that the decision was made following guidance by the NJ Department of Education and NJ Department of Health. The plan is in place until at least April 9th, the last day before spring break.  In the best case scenario, students will return to classes on April 20th - after spring break concludes.

Food services will also provide meals available for pick up for students eligible for free/reduced lunch programs. The letter from Dr. Latwis to parents provides more information as to how lessons will be accessed. 

"The intent of closing school is to promote social distancing, and thereby limit the spread of the coronavirus to our highest risk populations," shared Latwis. 

"The Board of Education recognizes the safety and well-being of our students and staff as a top priority," said Board of Education President Michael Hickey.. "It is essential to our community that we do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 while the district continues to provide instruction to our students through a virtual classroom setting."

"The Board recognizes the outstanding planning and decisive action taken by Dr Latwis and the administration team," Hickey continued, " As we proceed into the next few weeks, we would ask that parents make their families’ health their top priority by following the recommendations of the CDC. Additionally, we would ask that you continue to provide support to your students at home as they continue their academic progress in the home environment."