For the past several weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy has insisted all New Jersey schools will be re-opening for full-time, in-person instruction only, and there will not be any virtual learning options.
It turns out that’s not exactly accurate.
School administrators across the Garden State have been told by the state Department of Education in situations where a student have been exposed to COVID after someone tests positive for the virus and quarantine is required according to Health Department guidelines, the school districts should immediately provide virtual or remote instruction for all of the affected kids.
Rich Bozza, the executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, said districts will take different approaches in dealing with COVID quarantines, if and when they happen.
“Perhaps they might provide a tutor that would be available online rather than just classroom instruction. They may have specific packets of information related because hopefully, the online experience would be back within a two-week period,” he said.
“I know one of the concerns that we’re hearing, as we did last year, is it’s very difficult for a teacher to teach to a group of students in school as well as others at home, so we’ll have to see how districts handle that as we open the school year.”
Bozza said he’s glad the Department of Education has clarified this issue so everyone is on the same page.
“We think that these health decisions, with regard to what’s happening with COVID, need to be statewide because the virus doesn’t know the boundary of a street border,” he said.
Bozza said the Health Department could soon officially adopt a CDC recommendation that children who are within 3 feet of each other may not need to be quarantined if one child tests positive for COVID, provided they were properly masked during the interaction.
“I think that will be helpful in terms of moving school districts forward rather than excluding kids and having more disruption,” he said.
The original CDC guidance was anyone who was within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for COVID, for at least 15 minutes, should be quarantined for 14 days.