ROXBURY, NJ – Parents of Roxbury students are being asked how they feel about having their kids ride on school buses and return to classrooms in the fall.

The opinions are sought in a 3-question survey that must be answered by tomorrow (June 5).

Roxbury Schools Superintendent Loretta Radulic said administrators “have begun designing multiple scenarios for the 2020-2021 school year opening that include a virtual, in-person and hybrid experience.” Among the ideas being considered: Masks in class, classroom partitions and temperature checks of all students before they get on buses and enter school buildings.

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She said the input of parents is important.

“What I don’t have is a deeper understanding of where you are in your thoughts, fears and hopes,” Radulic said. “Therefore, please take this brief survey to help me understand what else we need to consider as we move forward towards the new horizon.”

Waiting for Guidance from the State

Roxbury’s school buildings have been closed since mid-March, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instruction has been taking place in remote fashion using computers and the Internet.

There stands a chance schools will remain closed in the fall, according to Radulic, who noted that she and her colleagues “await direction” from the state Department of Education, health officials and Gov. Phil Murphy.

If the schools are not allowed to re-open, the district will try to improve some aspects of the remote learning arrangement, Radulic said. This could include “streamlining apps and platforms, creating a more robust virtual curriculum design through the identification of focus and complementary standards, emphasizing wellness, increasing synchronous learning opportunities and creating schedules that more closely align to a ‘typical’ school day,” she said.

The superintendent stressed that, even if school buildings re-open, it is unlikely that life will be back to normal. She said “there is little evidence to indicate that we will return immediately to traditional in-person learning.”

Radulic mentioned a number of possibilities for the new school year. She said there might be “groupings” of students who alternate in-person instruction days.

Additionally, Radulic said the administration is considering having “one full day virtual day at the end of the week to provide time for the deep cleaning of buildings as well as consolidation of learning.”

Temperature Checks and Social Distancing

When students do come to school buildings, they’ll likely encounter a world transformed, predicted the superintendent. “Along with physical changes to classrooms, such as limited seating and dividers, instruction would be delivered to a class composed of both virtual and in-person students,” she said. “In-person students would experience a number of changes, such as increased hygiene expectations with more frequent hand washing, hand sanitizing and wearing masks.”

She said students will likely be subject to having their temperatures checked before they are allowed on school buses and in school buildings. “Social distancing would be practiced in classrooms and on buses,” she said, adding that there would be “a decrease in mobility around the school building to limit potential population exposure.”

That might sound like a big list of changes. Radulic said there could be more.

“This, of course, is not the exhaustive list of considerations,” she warned. “There are so many more. We will deliberate, research, run simulations, provide necessary training, analyze, evaluate and adjust. We can design a variety of plans, but ultimately will do what it takes to make it work so that your children engage in meaningful learning.”

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