The Vernon Township School District plans to combine the Blue and Gold cohorts in five days of weekly in-person instruction, starting after spring break.
On the district’s Feb. 25 podcast, Superintendent Karen D’Avino and Assistant Superintendent Chuck McKay announced their Spring Forward plan, which will begin April 12.
“This Spring Forward plan is about making sure the last 9 to 10 weeks of school begin the normalization process,” McKay said. “We want to make sure students and parents are comfortable coming back. We also want to establish some normalcy so when we open in September, we’re ready to go.”
D’Avino said the district recognizes the need to maintain social distancing and mask-wearing. Officials will work over the next several weeks to maximize space in the district’s buildings so that students can social-distance as much as possible, she said.
McKay said each principal will work with their building’s team of teachers to make sure the plan works. The district also will welcome virtual students back to in-person learning if they choose to return. Anyone making the transition from virtual to in person is asked to contact their building principal.
McKay said teachers have been working hard, teaching in both hybrid and virtual systems.
“We know there are some voices in the community concerned about the plan,” McKay said. “Our teachers are doing everything they can to make sure this plan works.”
D’Avino said the increased prevalence of vaccinations also helped spur the district toward more in-person learning.
Gov. Phil Murphy recently announced that, beginning March 15, pre-K-12 educators and staff will be eligible to book vaccine appointments.
“We must ensure New Jersey’s students get the best education possible and help combat the youth mental health struggles brought on by the pandemic,” U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer said. “Prioritizing our educators and school staff is paramount to making that a reality. This is a vital step to help reopen our schools safely and get our children back into the classroom on a regular basis, ensure that our teachers and staff are protected, and help get our economy moving.”
D’Avino said she knows the vaccine rollout has been frustrating and hopes it becomes more efficient.
The district also plans to maximize outdoor space, which includes allowing students to eat outside and even have class outside.
“We want to get students outside as much as possible,” McKay said.