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Charting the Course to Reopening Schools - August 11, 2020

August 11, 2020

Dear Freehold Regional High School District Community,

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our schools, community and world. As we prepare to open for the 2020-2021 school year, we do so understanding there are varied opinions about how to most effectively educate our children under these conditions. We have engaged in an open and extensive planning process, utilizing our vast school community as a resource throughout our preparation to reopen our schools. I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the members of our community who have reached out with their concerns and to those who participated in our Restart Committee and Community Focus Group meetings. Your input has been invaluable.

The New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) Restart and Recovery Plan provides educators and administrators with the information necessary to ensure that our schools reopen safely and are prepared to accommodate students’ unique needs during this unprecedented time. The Freehold Regional High School District (FRHSD) organized a Restart Committee, comprised of close to 80 individuals including parents, teachers, students, health professionals, and community leaders to provide feedback on the development of the FRHSD Restart and Recovery Plan. The Restart Committee met on June 18, July 15 and August 5.  Our plan, “Charting the Course to Reopening Schools,” (En españolis focused on the social-emotional and physical health and safety of our students and staff. 

While it is not what we hoped for or could have ever imagined, we will begin the 2020-2021 school year in an unprecedented style. We will follow a Hybrid Schedule to limit the capacity in our buildings. This hybrid structure will blend face-to-face instruction with synchronous remote learning from home. We will start the school year following a partial day schedule due to social distancing guidelines and limitations pertaining to lunch service. 

A Hybrid Schedule creates cohorts of students to allow students to attend school in person while we adhere to all CDC and NJDOH health and safety guidelines.  All students will attend their scheduled classes every day, whether the students are in school or at home. 

Students are assigned a cohort by last name.  Schools will work with families to ensure that children in the same household will be assigned to the same cohort.

  • Last Names A-L:
    • In-Person Learning: Mondays & Tuesdays and alternating Wednesdays
    • Remote Learning: Thursdays & Fridays and alternating Wednesdays
  • Last Names M-Z :
    • In-Person Learning: Thursdays & Fridays and alternating Wednesdays
    • Remote Learning: Mondays & Tuesdays and alternating Wednesdays
  • FRHSD self-contained special education, English Language Learners (ELL) and displaced and homeless students: 
    • In-Person Learning: Monday through Friday

Hybrid Schedule

 

Remote learning in the Hybrid Schedule during the 2020-2021 school year will look significantly different from your child’s experience last spring. The bell schedule will be the partial day bell schedule, following the rotating block schedule.  Students at home will attend classes on the partial day bell schedule via Google Meet and Google Classroom.  When students are attending classes in school, they will bring their charged laptop, Chromebook or tablet to school.  The FRHSD Grading System and Genesis will be used to measure and communicate student progress and to determine Marking Period and Final Grades.  The district attendance policy will be in effect whether the student is in school or at home.

FRHSD will continue to be guided by P.L. 2020, c.27 and the school district's updated Emergency Closure School Preparedness Plan if schools are required to deliver instruction remotely during limited periods throughout the school year due to a local or Statewide public health emergency.  All student cohorts will learn from home on the partial day bell schedule, following the rotating block schedule.

As per Supplemental Guidance provided on July 24, 2020 by the NJ Governor and Commissioner of Education, all students are eligible for full-time remote learning. Families must request either the Hybrid Schedule or Full-time Remote Choice Learning Option through the Genesis Parent Portal in the forms section beginning Tuesday, August 11 with a completion date of Tuesday, August 18.  Families who choose the Full-time Remote Choice Learning option must commit to the entire marking period.

Students who have selected Full-time Remote Choice learning will:

    • attend their scheduled classes every day on the partial day bell schedule via Google Meet and Google Classroom
    • have an opportunity to meet with teachers remotely during designated times after the partial day schedule ends (within the regularly scheduled school day)
    • be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities and athletics.

During the school year, a request to transition to the Full-time Remote Choice Learning Option must be submitted to the Principal or designee at least five calendar days before the student is eligible to commence full-time remote learning.

Maintaining a safe and healthy school environment is the responsibility of everyone.  All students and staff will be required to wear a cloth face covering at all times.  Please consult the CDC guidelines for Use of Masks to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19.  Face coverings, which can include masks, should cover one’s mouth and nose and fit properly. T-shirts and bandannas will not be acceptable as a face covering.  

In addition to our sanitization procedures performed throughout the day and after the school day has ended, classrooms and offices will be equipped with hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and gloves so students can sanitize their individual work area prior to the start of class or their counseling session.  

To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, FRHSD has established health and safety protocols and sanitizing procedures in accordance with CDC guidance and NJDOH guidance. Students and staff are expected to follow all guidelines and procedures outlined by administration, in the school and on the bus, including:

  • Social distancing to the maximum extent practicable.
  • Face coverings will be worn for the duration of the school day, including, riding buses, entering and exiting schools, walking in hallways, and inside classrooms.  
    • Face covering breaks will be built into the schedule.
  • At the start of each class students will:
    • Sanitize their hands, and
    • Use a sanitizing wipe for their desk/work space (gloves will be available).

We understand that there are questions and concerns that will continue to be raised by our community. Although this is not an ideal situation, we must continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff in compliance with all NJDOE and CDC guidelines. Please consult our FAQ Document for answers to frequently asked questions. This document will continue to be updated. Our Restart and Recovery Plan will be modified as health circumstances, guidance, and conditions shift within our communities, the state and nation.

With the changing nature of the COVID-19 situation, our plans can change from hybrid to all remote at any moment. We have a plan that will allow students and staff to move smoothly between models as necessary. We take the responsibility of educating every single student seriously. Thank you for your continued support as we all embark on the path to reopening our schools. 

 

Sincerely,

Charles B. Sampson, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools