MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Restart and Recovery Plan released this evening presents two learning options for families and guarantees eight hours total per week of in person instruction for students in the hybrid learning model and one hour a day of live virtual instruction for all students.

The first two weeks of the school year will be virtual for all students from September 8-18. Every Friday will also be fully virtual for students across the district. Students will still have to meet the regular attendance requirements. The district will be sending out a “Return to School Preference” form where families can select either the hybrid or virtual learning models. The form must be submitted by August 14. 

Scott Sinkler, SOMSD parent and founder of the SOMA Families for Effective Instruction Facebook page said he will send his kids to school in person “only if things dramatically change, which I really don’t see happening this year.”

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“I’m concerned about the spread and things getting worse,” Sinkler continued. "We’re one of eight states that is in a decent situation. I just can’t see going back to school and not having it go the other direction.”

Students on both instruction plans will be using Canvas, the district's new virtual learning system. “It has a very good reputation, so I think that it’s positive that we’re getting that,” said Sinkler.

Families that opt for the hybrid plan will receive a Parent Agreement Letter of Compliance with COVID-19 Guidelines. The letter will include information on how to spot signs and symptoms of COVID-19, the at home screening procedure, and other information families will need before returning to school.

In the hybrid instruction model students in grades K-8 will go to school two days a week for four hours in the mornings. In the afternoons and the other three days students will have virtual instruction on Canvas. Every afternoon will include at least one hour of live instruction from a teacher.

Students' last names will determine which days they attend school in person. Group A will attend school on Monday and Tuesday mornings, group B will attend school on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. The district has committed to making sure that siblings are in the same group. Parents whose children have different last names can contact their building administrator to make arrangements.

There will be a group C for hybrid learning students who are English Language Learners or have a special program. Group C will have in school instruction every morning Monday through Thursday.

Columbia High School students in the hybrid learning model will only be attending school in person for one day every other week, for four hours in the morning. Like K-8 students the high school students will be split into groups that have not yet been defined.

Virtual school days for high school students on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday will be taught on a rotating block schedule. Block classes will be taught live and will meet twice a week.

Like with K-8 students Columbia students with special learning programs and English Language Learners will have the option of in school instruction every morning for 4 days a week.

The district will be launching the “District’s Reopening & COVID-19” microsite with a parent’s FAQ page the week of August 14.

Keep following TAPinto SOMA as we continue to cover the 122-page Restart and Recovery Plan.


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