FLEMINGTON, N.J. – Reopening plans are still in the early stages for Hunterdon Central Regional High School, and Superintendent Jeffrey Moore informed the school board Monday that a lot of the planning is centered around a scenario of having 50 percent of the student population on campus with early dismissal and remote learning in the afternoon.

“A lot of districts are with us in that planning focus,” Moore told the school board.

He went into more detail around the possible reopening scenarios - and the planning around them – during his report to the board.

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Under a scenario with 50 percent of the school’s students present, 6 feet of social distancing cannot be achieved in all classrooms, while 3 feet would be achieved in most of them. The risk of crowding would be moderate, but lessened, while large scale mixing would still be a concern.

Instruction and relationship-building would require broader-scale live-streaming and other measures.

Coupling cutting capacity in half with reducing the amount of time on campus would lower the risk of exposure, Moore said.

He added that serving lunch poses a challenge, even with 50 percent of students on campus. Eliminating lunch from the schedule would reduce concerns over social distancing and crowding concerns.

Moore said questions remain as they plan for reopening. He said guidance is needed for what “gatekeeping levels” to have to assist in decisions to move between various in-person scenarios, recommendations for isolation and other protocols for dealing with staff and students who are showing symptoms and detailed legal considerations for working in a hybrid scenario and with families and staff members who have health and other concerns.

Before a final reopening plan is submitted, focus groups involving parents, students and the community will be held. The results of one survey with nearly 500 parents was shared with the board, and 53 percent of those asked were ready to send their kids back to school, though they had concerns.

Only 24 percent were ready to send their kids without any concerns while 22 percent were not ready to return their kids at all.

Moore told the board that if he had to choose a scenario tomorrow, he would recommend to the board to implement the 50 percent, early dismissal plan.  

“Even though the public health situation is looking positive in Hunterdon County, the guidance before us is putting social distancing and other restrictions in front of us that 50 percent, early dismissal is the one that logistically we feel like we can do and still have a viable program,” he said.