In-person learning returns at Point Beach schools

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POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Tuesday marked the first day of in-person instruction in Point Pleasant Beach schools since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we are very happy with how the year has started,” said Superintendent William Smith. “Students, staff and families took our efforts to reopen schools seriously, and they are working together to make it successful.”

The district set in place many precautions to try and keep those in the building safe from the spread of COVID-19.

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The year begins with new rules to combat the spread of the virus, including block scheduling and various entry and dismissal times to limit the number of people in the building at once. Along with new Wednesday rest days that give the school a chance to more thoroughly clean the school, students, staff and administrators are screened and must wear masks to protect everyone in the school.

“Students are doing a great job wearing masks and adapting to new procedures,” said Mr. Smith.

The school had an option for students to attend school virtually to give families a choice in returning to school with others; around 80 students district-wide chose this option.

The remainder of the students will follow strict policies to keep themselves and those around them safe.

Mr. Smith said even with the changes, he is glad to see everyone working together.

“We have changed our schedules, our pedagogical practices, and how we use our technology, so it will take some time to grow accustomed to the new routine, but it is apparent that everyone is willing to do their part,” said the superintendent

Mr. Smith said one of the most important parts of the management of students is the responsibility of the community.

“I really want to emphasize that we have incorporated health and safety practices into our operations and daily routines, but it is critical that parents complement our efforts with ongoing reinforcement of the importance of social distancing and why handwashing is so important,” he said.

“We also really need the community to support our efforts by maintaining vigilance outside of school hours,” Mr. Smith added. “Parents can encourage social distancing and deter large gatherings of students. And it is worth repeating, parents should keep their children home when they are feeling ill or showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.”

According to the superintendent, from what he sees, students are glad to be learning in-person rather than the virtual half of a year they experienced in the spring.

“It is readily apparent that students are happy to be back among their friends and to a routine schedule of learning activities,” said Mr. Smith. “I am hopeful that we can sustain their enthusiasm for a long stretch of time.”

With conditions constantly changing, the district hopes it can keep the school year going with precautions and rules set to keep attendees safe.

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