SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Spotswood School District Superintendent Graham Peabody announced the delay of the beginning of hybrid instruction for students on Thursday. The Spotswood School District was scheduled to begin offering hybrid instruction to students on Monday, September 21. Peabody stated in a letter to parents that the district needed to delay the start of a combination of virtual and in-person learning because the required MERV 13 air filters needed for HVAC units were on backorder.
Spotswood's four schools began the 2020-21 academic year virtually on September 2 because necessary equipment, materials and staff needed for hybrid instruction were not in place. The date to begin implementing in-person instruction as outlined in New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy's Executive Order 175 was set to start three weeks after the onset of the school year. According to Peabody's September 10 letter to parents, the only missing element currently is the MERV 13 air filters. The district is hopeful the needed filters will be available for installation in mid-October. However, the district is setting the conditional start of hybrid instruction on the first day of the second marking period, which is November 12.
"While we will continue to work to find solutions for this specific issue as quickly as possible, we do not want to take the chance of this situation recurring again and again," Peabody stated in the letter. "Therefore, to provide needed consistency to our educational community, we are announcing the conditional implementation of our hybrid model beginning the first day of the second Marking Period, Thursday, November 12, 2020."
Peabody went on the say that after discussions with the county superintendent, the decision was made to begin hybrid instruction shortly after the delivery of the MERV 13 air filters should they arrive earlier than anticipated.
"With that said, while providing consistency, we also must maintain our commitment to return to in-person instruction as outlined within Executive Order 175 as soon as possible," Peabody continued. "As such, after discussion with our County Superintendent, it is our intent, should we receive our required operational equipment prior to Thursday, November 12, 2020, we will begin the implementation of our hybrid model on the first Monday following five days of notification to our educational community after the installation of the MERV 13 air filters in our HVAC units."
Spotswood School District houses a population of a little over 1,700 students. Students have been learning remotely utilizing live Zoom instruction and Google Classroom since September 2. Students picked up any necessary books and materials during the first week of classes.
When the hybrid method is implemented students would be able to attend two shortened days of in-person classes. Students opting into the hybrid model were divided into two cohorts. Cohort A will attend classes on Mondays and Tuesdays while Cohort B students go to school on Thursdays and Fridays. All students will learn virtually on Wednesdays. Each of the four Spotswood School District Schools have virtual and hybrid schedules in place. Students attending in-person classes will be required to wear masks. Parents do have the option to opt their children out of hybrid instruction as stated by the governor earlier this summer.