CAMDEN, NJ — Remote learning, like anywhere else in New Jersey, will present a new norm for Camden students and teachers to grapple with.
Superintendent Katrina McCombs said she wants everyone in the district to know that Camden is unified in continuing the education of its students as uninterrupted as possible.
“The big message I’d want to share is that we’re all learning collaboratively and working so that the quality of education is not going to be lessened because of this prolonged closure,” McCombs told TAPinto Camden over the phone Monday. “We want parents to know we’re doing everything possible to remove barriers and ensure students continue to receive standard-based instruction.”
Camden, which has declared a state of emergency, announced the third case in the county Monday afternoon. In New Jersey, the pandemic has claimed three lives and increased to 178 cases.
Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the closure of all New Jersey schools Monday as well. However, the Camden City School District (CCSD) — as well as other local non-district schools — announced they would transition to remote learning before the weekend got underway.
Part of the district's initiatives include adding a professional development day Tuesday, what originally was a school day, to prepare faculty and staff for the next two weeks.
The district says it is preparing educators with all the tools they need to educate students from home — including any necessary technology.
“There’s a strong usage of Google Classroom for instance, so we want to make sure teachers and students are all well-equipped,” McCombs said.
Originally, students were set to begin school Tuesday, but in light of Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcements Monday, district officials are adding an additional day to further preparation efforts.
The same day, the Trump administration called on the limit of public gatherings to 10 people.
McCombs said the 10-day guidelines will also be taken into account during development communications Tuesday.
Packets and access to meals
Students without access to the internet will receive the resources they need, Camden district spokesperson Alisha Brown said.
The district already has a program in place to assure most students who require laptops have one at their disposal.
Remote learning packets will be distributed Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Any students or parents who cannot pick up a packet tomorrow will be able to at any of the meal distribution sites listed below.
The packets will vary by grade.
Every student in grades pre-K to 5th grade will receive a packet, and packets for students between 6th and 8th grade will depend on the student's access to the internet.
The packets are envelopes with photocopied worksheets and instructional pieces that have tailored the material to be engaging and relevant for the individual student, school officials said.
Support team members will create 75 copies of the packets per grade and make them available.
Some students, McCombs noted, are preparing to take the NJ Student Learning Assessment.
As part of efforts to make food available to students, the district has also announced 11 meal sites throughout the county.
Additional sites will be announced soon.
McCombs emphasized that regardless of the school type, students in Camden will have access to nutritious food at all the sites.
“With regard to meals, it has been really a united front forged between our schools. Traditional district leaders, [as well as those at] renaissance, non-public and charter schools are working together to make sure all kids in Camden have access to food. It touches my heart as someone who’s been in the city for 27 years,” McCombs said. “We’re unifying throughout this adversity.”
Below is the list of all the current meal distribution sites across the city:
(Operation hours: Monday - Friday, Breakfast 9-10AM; Lunch 12-1:30PM).
The list is available in Spanish by clicking here.
Mastery High, 800 Erie St., 08102
Mastery Cramer Hill, 1001 N. 17th St., 08105
Woodrow Wilson High School, 3101 Federal St., 08105
Camden High, 1875 Park Blvd. 08103
Wiggins, 400 Mt. Vernon St., 08103
Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy, 990 Morgan Blvd., 08105
KIPP Lanning Square, 525 Clinton St., 08103 (M-F from 10 - 11:30 A.M.)
Camden’s Pride, 897 North 31st St., 08105
Camden’s Promise, 879 Beideman Ave., 08105
Camden Academy Charter High School, 250 Federal St., 08105
Katz Dalsey, 3098 Pleasant St., 08105