FRANKLIN, NJ – Franklin Township School District students currently attending in-person instruction will be able to do so every week, beginning next month, according to Superintendent Dr. John Ravally.

"Once again I want to thank everyone who responded to our survey," wrote Ravally in a March 3 letter to parents. "Your input was helpful and has assisted us to responsibly decide on next steps as we continue providing a safe, nurturing and rigorous learning environment for our students under these extraordinary circumstances."

Results of survey, stated the superintendent, indicate that those 'attending school in-person would like to attend more frequently.' As a result, beginning April 19, the district plans to divide students into two cohorts – those who attend in person and those who attend remotely. All in-person learners will continue to attend school Monday through Thursday with remote asynchronous learning remaining in place on Fridays for all students. Additionally, the current Blue, Green, and Gold Cohorts will be combined into a new cohort, the Purple Group. 

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"With the governor’s announcement earlier this week explaining that Pre-K-12 educators will be eligible to receive the vaccine beginning March 15, we are comfortable targeting April 19, 2021, the first Monday of the 4th quarter for secondary students and two weeks post spring break, as the target date to combine cohorts," said Ravally in his letter, noting that the district will continue to monitor the number of students enrolled in the Purple Cohort to ensure that the district is able to remain within the safe capacity limits for all district spaces before opening to this new model on April 19. 

"We will be sure to keep the information regarding the blue, gold, green and fully remote groups in case we are forced to return to this model for any reason in the future," he said, noting that more information regarding the deadlines to switch from remote learning to in-person instruction or vice versa will be released next week. Families, however, are being asked to commit to the Fully Remote or Purple Cohort for the entire fourth quarter. Doing so, said the superintendent, will help the district 'better manage items such as class sizes and bus capacities of the newly created Purple Cohort.

Additionally, according to the superintendent, the survey found that a 'very large percentage' of those who of those who responded indicated that 'the current program, although not perfect, is reasonably addressing student needs in these challenging times.' The superintendent stated that, based on the survey, families, students and teachers are 'mostly satisfied' with access to technical support and resources. 

He also noted that one of the biggest challenges during the pandemic has been to provide student to student interactions and the survey data revealed that this remains the district's greatest challenge. The district, wrote Ravally, hopes to provide 'more opportunities that will increase this type of interaction,' as the weather improves, more people are vaccinated, and COVID-19 cases decrease. 

"Of course, we will balance our efforts to increase student-to-student interactions with our responsibility to remain diligent in our efforts to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus," Ravally wrote, extending thanks to those who responded to the survey. 

"These are unprecedented times and our ability to work together has helped us to remain focused on what is most important, providing and supporting a safe, rigorous learning environment for our students," Ravally wrote. "…We look forward to welcoming those choosing to attend school in-person to the new more frequent meeting schedule on April 19, 2021…"

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