HAMILTON, NJ --  Hamilton Township School Superintendent Dr. Scott Rocco said on Friday that the District will be working to create a plan for students to return for the 2020-2021 school year. Hamilton's students have not been in a physical classroom since March 12, finishing the last school year through remote learning. 

In a statement to TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville, Rocco said that "As a school district, we are committed to developing plans that are flexible, adaptive and work to ensure all of our students get an equitable and effective education next school year." 

On Friday, the Governor and Education Commissioner issued an extensive set of guidance for school districts to consider in crafting their individual plan for their schools.

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"Opening schools with a flexible option in September that puts a priority on health and safety is essential," said Rocco. "This is the message we have provided to our school community over the last four months, and it was important to hear the same message from both Governor Murphy and Commissioner Repollet."  

The four core principles of the State's guidance are: ensuring a conducive learning atmosphere; supporting educational leaders with planning; providing policy guidance and necessary funding to schools; and securing continuity of learning.

"We have every expectation that our kids will return to their schools come September," Murphy said. "Today's guidance comes with one overarching requirement: that our public schools will open in some capacity with the health of students, their families, and educators being the top priority."

The Governor noted that if the number of cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) rises to levels unsafe for students to be in a classroom, then the State may direct full-scale virtual learning once again.  

"As educators, we all want our students to be back in school. But we want this to be done safely," said Rocco.  "As a result, there is much emotion when discussing the opening of our schools. As a district we will rely on and develop plans around science. We need the assistance of and recommendations from those who have this expertise. And we will seek their assistance."

Districts are expected to provide their specific return-to-school plans to their school districts no less than four weeks before the school year is scheduled to begin. 

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