remote learning this fall

During Governor Murphy’s press conference today he announced that all students will have a fully remote learning option available to them this fall. Full details on this will come later this week from the Department of Education, but this news should be reassuring to parents who are nervous about sending their kids back to school in the fall.

“The Department of Education will be releasing guidance allowing for parents to choose all-remote learning for their children,” said Murphy. “The details will be coming out later this week, but we wanted everyone to know now that we will allow for this step.”

School districts will still be going ahead with their current plans to offer in-person learning or a hybrid schedule, but this new scenario will give options for parents who don’t feel comfortable putting their kids back in the school environment.

“This is going to be focused on kids and parents,” he said. “One of the aspirations put forward by educators has been less density in the classrooms and some capacity limits. If kids are remote learning, that is indirectly addressing capacity and density in the classroom.”

This news comes on the heels of the announcement from the head of the New Jersey teacher’s union, NJEA, Mary Blistan, who recently said that public schools don’t have the time to effectively put together a plan for in-person learning that will keep students, teachers and administrators safe. She cited resource and safety concerns that need to be addressed logistically before bringing students back.

Meanwhile, many of the top pediatricians in the country think that having students physically present in school is best for their academics and mental health. It’s also a needed option for many parents who have had to return to work and aren’t able to homeschool their children.

A poll released by Fairleigh Dickinson University last week found that 46 percent of New Jerseyans say schools should reopen with protective measures. Forty-two percent say students should continue with remote learning until there is a COVID-19 treatment or vaccine available. Many school districts are offering a hybrid approach that will have students in school some days and at home others to allow for social distancing in the classroom.

There seems to be no “right” answer here, but it looks like come fall, parents will be able to choose an option that is best for their families. Has your school district released its plan for the fall? Are you comfortable with sending the kids back to school? Tell us in the comments.

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