‘This is a massive undertaking.’ State approves over 500 school-reopening plans

New Jersey health and education officials say that they have plans in place to quarantine students and even close schools in case of a COVID-19 outbreak as the new school year approaches.

News 12 Staff

Sep 2, 2020, 10:55 PM

Updated 1,329 days ago

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New Jersey health and education officials say that they have plans in place to quarantine students and even close schools in case of a COVID-19 outbreak as the new school year approaches.
Hundreds of school districts around the state have submitted their reopening plans to the state, which include all-remote, all in-person or a hybrid system.
“This is a massive undertaking like we’ve never experienced before,” says interim Education Commissioner Kevin Dehmer.
Officials say that this will be a school year unlike any other because of the pandemic.
“Anybody who’s expecting a normal school year has not been paying attention over the past six months,” says Gov. Phil Murphy. “This will be unusual no matter what your configuration is, no matter what your district is.”
Officials say that 545 reopening plans have already been approved by the state. The Department of Education has expanded reopening options after their initial guidance issued in June.
The Department of Health has also released guidance on what to do if students become infected with the coronavirus. Those plans include quarantining only those in close contact with an infected student, to shutting down an entire school or region. But the governor says that he hopes it won’t come down to shutting it all down.
“If we’re shutting the whole state down, then all hell’s broken loose,” he says.
There is $54 million now available for public schools to purchase devices for students in need to learn from home.
“All those applications have been approved and that funding is available,” says Dehmer. “It’s a reimbursement basis, so they purchase the devices and get reimbursed.”
Most schools in New Jersey will start their new year after Labor Day.
“Yesterday was the first time on my way to work that I was behind a school bus,” says State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan. “I couldn’t remember the last time I was. And I know for some of us that comes with angst and impatience, but I took it as a good sign we’re on the road to recovery.”
The six education regions of the state will be rated at low, moderate, high, or very risk for COVID-19 each week. If a region is at "very high" risk, it will go to all remote learning.


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