BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The board of education discussed the possibility of returning to in-person meetings, perhaps as early as the board’s scheduled July 21 gathering.
Board president Jackie Barlow expressed concerns with COVID-19 spikes occurring elsewhere in the country, while board member Lynne Hurley said it would be “very difficult.”
Hurley suggested that perhaps the board could hold hybrid meetings, with the board meeting in person while the community continues to attend remotely, as it has done the last several months after board meetings were moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Board member Ann Marie Mead said she is a fan of trying to get the board back together. She said she believes it could be done in “a safe way,” and feels the board should try to get there.
Board vice president Jill Gladstone said the board doesn’t have to decide until a few days before the meeting, but cautioned it would not be like individuals visiting a Home Depot, where they can come and go at will. At a board meeting, the members will be “in one place” for an unknown duration, and will also need to be cautious, likely by employing social distancing measures and wearing masks.
Board member Zachary Malek said the board could meet in a large cafeteria, or perhaps the high school auditorium where it would be easier to spread out, although he said he has reservations about the public being included.
“I don’t like the idea of the board being up on stage,” he said, with the community seated below.
Barlow said she doesn’t know everyone’s health concerns on the board, or those of their dependents, but she did say that if just one person would potentially be in danger, an in-person meeting couldn’t be conducted.
“I don’t want to put anyone at risk,” she said.
She asked her fellow board members to keep the idea of meeting in-person in the back of their minds, and added that they have to announce a public meeting four to seven days ahead of time, because of the requirements of public noticing.