Vernon schools open without a hitch

Vernon. Like most other schools in New Jersey, Vernon schools opened with a hybrid schedule of in-person and remote learning. Officials thanked parents for preparing their students for mask wearing and social distancing.

15 Sep 2020 | 11:07

Vernon Township School District officials said they had a successful start on Sept. 8, when its campuses reopened for in-person classes.

Superintendent Karen D’Avino told the board of education last Thursday that the district had an attendance rating of 96.1 percent, which is slightly down from previous years.

New Jersey allows families to choose an all-remote learning option. Some other schools in Sussex County, including Sparta and Newton, delayed their in-person opening because of delays in getting safety supplies or because of staffing shortfalls.

The Vernon district opened with the student body divided into Blue and Gold teams, with the teams alternating days in the school. Starting this past Monday, the district went to a hybrid schedule that has the Blue Team attending school on Mondays and Tuesdays and the Gold Teams on Thursdays and Fridays. All students learn remotely on Wednesdays, and on the days they are not on campus.

“We had outstanding support from our faculty,” D’Avino said on Thursday night. “They’ve done a tremendous job and our students have done a tremendous job.”

D’Avino said they had a very good first three days.

“I tried to make sure parents understood how much we value their input and how much they prepared their children,” Assistant Superintendent Chuck McKay said. “When we see all our little guys with their masks on, we know each one of those was a conversation in their houses about what they had to do.”

D’Avino said she plans to meet with district administrators this week and to get feedback. She also said she plans to reconvene the re-opening committee on Sept. 23. She also plans to put out surveys to gauge stakeholder opinion on how they’ve done so far and what they anticipate going forward.

“Our plan is solid through the first weekend of October,” D’Avino said. “I’m pretty confident we should be able to roll through the first weekend of October.”

Board of education member Kelly Mitchell said she received mostly positive feedback regarding the district’s re-opening.

“My favorite was one community member saying we were the model district for our county,” Mitchell said. “In their estimate, we did an amazing job.”

“I tried to make sure parents understood how much we value their input and how much they prepared their children. When we see all our little guys with their masks on, we know each one of those was a conversation in their houses about what they had to do.” --Assistant Superintendent Chuck McKay