CAMDEN, NJ — After nearly a year of all remote learning, the Camden school district plans to bring back a portion of students under a hybrid format starting the week of April 12.

The CCSD would start with pre-K to 2nd graders, as well as certain students in Special Education and English Language Learner (ELL) programs. On Friday, it released a survey to families to gauge the return to buildings, as well as the prospect of bringing back the rest of the student body.

“The idea is to try to get our youngest learners, to give them experience….because some of our students have never been in a school setting,” Superintendent Katrina McCombs told TAPinto Camden on Friday. “But also to provide equity for those special needs students who are most disadvantaged and some of our ELL as well.”

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“We are looking forward to continuing to collect survey information because we want to find out how comfortable our families are feeling," she continued. "If they will still want to opt for remote learning during this type of format if they're in that group.”

The district is also looking in-house to assess how staff members feel about returning to in-person education.

Teachers and other faculty, in a district of over 6,000 students, began teaching from home last March.

Unless a teacher meets one of the other high-risk qualifications, they are not currently eligible to get a vaccine shot. The New Jersey Department of Health is currently prioritizing healthcare workers, long-term care residents and staff, first responders, people 65 or older, and those 16-64 with serious health conditions and smokers.

McCombs has joined other Camden County superintendents in reaching out to the governor for educators to receive shots as well.

“Although vaccinations are definitely important and would help us all to feel at ease, if vaccinations are not able to be received or teachers are not able to be prioritized, that is not a prerequisite for us returning to some form of in-person learning,” said McCombs. “Teachers being able to be vaccinated is incredibly important to me. But it's not a prerequisite for us to return in person, because we're still going to ensure that the four W's are in place.”

The four W’s include: Wearing masks, Washing hands, Watching distance and daily Wellness checks.

The district has also discussed constant sanitization of surfaces, health and safety signage, markers on floor to ensure students are using particular entrances/exits and minimizing contact with others.

Lessons may also be gleaned from the Cherry Hill Public School District, which plans to return to in-person school for four days a week next month.

McCombs said the district will continue to provide updates on the return to in-person online.

Below is a breakdown of the hybrid schedule and health guidance released by the CCSD this week:

In-person “Hybrid” Learning Schedule

As we return to in person learning our main goal is to ensure student and staff safety. In order to maintain social distancing with small groups, you could expect the following hybrid schedule.

Four W's:

Wearing Masks

  • All students and staff will be expected to wear masks while in the building
  • As a result, students will not eat in buildings. The current meal/food distribution process will continue to ensure students have access to meals

Washing Hands

  • Students and staff will have regular access to hand sanitizer, soap, and regular sanitation breaks.
  • All classrooms will have constant access to safe and effective cleaning materials in order to maintain the room’s cleanliness

Watching Distance

  • Students and staff will remain 6 feet apart in classrooms and throughout the building. - This means classrooms, based on space, will max out around 10-12 students. Additionally, students will remain in cohorts and avoid interacting with peers in other
  • Classrooms/grades. Visitors to the building will not be allowed

Daily Wellness Checks

  • Every day, before sending your child to school, each family must complete a wellness screening of your child in the Genesis Parent Portal
  • Failure to complete the daily wellness screening may result in your child being refused entry to school
  • If students/staff identify symptoms during wellness check, they should remain home

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