If you’re not planning to send your kids back to school for in-person instruction in September, the state has a plan for them. On Friday, state education officials released new rules for what an all-remote learning option will look like.
New guidelines say all New Jersey public school districts must offer a distance learning plan for students who opt out of returning to class for all or part of the 2020-2021 school year due to the pandemic.
“We heard what parents and school leaders had to say,” Keven Dehmer, interim commissioner of the Department of Education, said at Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus press briefing on Friday. “To that end, the guidance that we’re issuing today provides an additional anticipated minimum standard for school district reopening plans ensuring that families can choose full-time remote learning when the new school year starts.”
Here is what was released under the new remote learning guidelines:
–All public school students are eligible for an all-remote learning plan if their parents or guardians choose, including special education students and those who need special related services.
–School districts must create clear procedures for families who want to take advantage of full-time remote learning and how they can transition back to attending in-person classes if they choose. Schools must communicate clearly and frequently with families in the language their families speak about this offering and related procedures.
–Students must receive the same quality of instruction at home that they would receive in-person in the classroom.
–Students learning at home or as part of a hybrid plan must follow the same regulations on attendance and the length of the school day as those learning in school.
–All school districts must report the numbers of students participating in remote learning to the state Dept of Education.
During the press briefing, Gov. Murphy said offering an all-remote learning option is only possible because the state is finding money to fund devices for all students to bridge the technology gap.
The head of NJ’s largest teacher’s union, meanwhile, has said there isn’t enough time for schools to prepare for a safe reopening in the fall. The CDC says schools should reopen in the fall. If you’re feeling conflicted about what to do, you’re not alone. A June poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University found New Jerseyans split on whether students and teachers should return to schools.
Have you decided if you’ll send your kids back to school? Tell us in the comments.