43 N.J. school districts go remote with spring break travel a concern


43 N.J. school districts go remote with spring break travel a concern

The number of fully in-person districts continues to climb, though some New Jersey districts are switching temporarily to remote learning to stave off any spring break-related coronavirus outbreaks.

As of April 5, 493 districts were hybrid, 130 remote, and 151 were fully in-person, the highest number of in-person districts since the coronavirus shuttered schools last March. Thirty-seven districts have different educational formats for different schools.

The number of remote districts rose by 35 this week, after schools have said they will switch to remote after the break in anticipation of out-of-state travel. Eighty-nine districts made changes to their learning formats this week, with 43 districts moving to remote learning.

Scheduled spring breaks this week are not reflected in the school status reporting, officials said.

Gov. Phil Murphy has called for all districts to switch to either hybrid or in-person learning, announcing in March that some schools could relax social distancing measures.

Some of the state’s largest districts are preparing to bring students back into classrooms, including Newark, which will have students in its buildings for the first time in over a year on Monday, and Woodbridge, which will begin 5-day in-person instruction by the end of April.

Although just over 18% of districts are fully in-person, those schools educate just 7% of New Jersey students, as all the state’s largest districts remain remote or hybrid.

Some schools have remained entirely remote since last March, while other districts have changed formats as virus conditions have changed. Parents have also been given the choice to keep students virtual even if their district reinstitutes in-person learning. That option will be rescinded next year, and reserved only for students and teachers with medical concerns, Murphy said.

Districts have cited concerns about the virus’s spread as the main reason for choosing to remain remote; at least one district has said it intends to stay virtual through the end of the year.

There have been 240 outbreaks and 1,070 cases of the coronavirus linked to schools in New Jersey. For cases to qualify as an outbreak, they must be confirmed to have been transmitted in the classroom or during academic activities. All 21 counties have seen an in-school outbreak.

Teachers are now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, and some districts have begun partnering with health agencies to distribute vaccines to teachers. At least one district will begin to administer the shot to age-eligible students.

No vaccine has been approved for children under 16, although Pfizer has announced their vaccine is highly effective in children aged 12-15. Studies on younger children remain ongoing.

The following 20 districts brought students back for full-time in-person learning this week:

  • Burlington City Public School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Burlington County Institute of Technology School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Burlington Township School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Chesterfield Township School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Delanco Township School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Eastampton Township School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Edgewater Park Township School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Florence Township School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Hainesport Township School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Maple Shade School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Medford Township School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Mount Holly Township Public School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Northern Burlington County Regional School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Palmyra Public School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Riverbank Charter School of Excellence: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Shamong Township School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Southampton Township School District: Combo to In-Person
  • Westampton Township Public School District: Hybrid to In-Person
  • Holmdel Township School District: Combo to In-Person
  • Howell Township Public School District: Combo to In-Person

Six previously remote districts brought students back into the classroom at least part-time:

  • Benjamin Banneker Preparatory Charter School: Remote to In-Person
  • Moorestown Township Public School District: Remote to In-Person
  • Willingboro Public School District: Remote to In-Person
  • Jersey City Global Charter School: Remote to Combo
  • International Charter School of Trenton: Remote to Hybrid
  • P.G. CHAMBERS SCHOOL: Remote to Hybrid

43 districts switched students out of the classroom, switching from either hybrid or in-person to remote:

  • Cape May City School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Dennis Township School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Lower Cape May Regional School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Lower Township Elementary School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • North Wildwood School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Upper Township School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • West Cape May School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Wildwood Crest Borough School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Bridgeton City School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Compass Academy Charter School: Hybrid to Remote
  • Lawrence Township School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Vineland Public School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Atlantic Highlands School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Fair Haven School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Freehold Township School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Hazlet Township Public School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Henry Hudson Regional School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Highlands Borough School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Oceanport School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Red Bank Charter School: In-Person to Remote
  • Red Bank Regional School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Rumson Borough School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Shore Regional High School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Upper Freehold Regional School District: In-Person to Remote
  • West Long Branch School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Dover Public School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Lakehurst School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Somerville Public School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School: Hybrid to Remote
  • New Road School of Somerset: Hybrid to Remote
  • Andover Regional School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Lafayette Township School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Stanhope School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Berkeley Heights School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Cranford Public School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Cresthaven Academy Charter School: Hybrid to Remote
  • Mountainside School District: In-Person to Remote
  • Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District: In-Person to Remote
  • The Queen City Academy Charter School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Township of Union School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Union County Educational Services Commission: Hybrid to Remote
  • Union County Vocational-Technical School District: Hybrid to Remote
  • Westfield Public School District: Hybrid to Remote

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Katie Kausch may be reached at kkausch@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.


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