Plan for reopening Wall schools issued

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Elementary pupils back in class five days; secondary, two days

WALL TOWNSHIP — A preliminary, phased-in plan for reopening public schools was approved by the board of education Tuesday night following a nearly four-hour virtual public meeting attended by about 400 people. 

The plan, at least for the first four weeks, calls for elementary students in kindergarten through fifth grades to attend class with their teachers on campus five mornings a week, and for secondary students in grades six to 12 to be divided into two cohorts that alternate between on-campus instruction and virtual learning at home.

The plan was approved by the board of education in an eight-to-one vote, with dissenting board member Andrew Krupa saying he is not ready to send kids back to school yet.

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“I just can’t,” he said. 

During the public hearing, about two dozen parents and teachers commented. Nearly all commended the work that went into developing the plan, with special praise going to Lisa J. Gleason, the director of curriculum and instruction.

But their opinions on sending students and staff back to school differed. Some said virtual learning does not work well and it’s crucial for all children to go back to school full-time in order not to be left behind. Others said they feared students and staff going back to school would spread the coronavirus to vulnerable family members.  

The district’s new superintendent of schools, Tracy Handerhan, who arrived just two weeks ago, gave a 40-minute presentation of the plan prior to a public hearing at the board meeting.

She said “nitty-gritty” details of the plan, which she called a “framework,” still have to be worked out by each school’s Pandemic Response Team before it is sent to the state on Aug. 7. The more detailed plan will be posted on the district website, wall.k12.nj.us., by that date, she said.

For more on this story, read next week's edition of The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.