WALL TOWNSHIP — While the Wall Township School District is not yet ready to move fully into phase two of its Restart and Recovery Plan amid the pandemic, Wall High School will adjust its schedule, beginning the week of Oct. 19, to bring students cohorts on campus on Wednesdays. Lisa J. Gleason, the director of curriculum and instruction, announced the change during the Tuesday, Oct. 13 school board meeting.
Since opening on Sept. 16, the intermediate and high schools have been operating on a hybrid model, with two rotating cohorts, red and blue, each having two in-class instruction days and two remote instruction days each week, with live, virtual instruction for all on Wednesdays.
“We are going to start next week with a change in the schedule for students in grades nine to 12. We’re going to be eliminating the virtual Wednesday and transition where each student cohort, instead of being on campus two days a week, they will be on campus three days on one week and two days on the second week,” Ms. Gleason said.
“It’s a three-two schedule, so that increases their days live on campus with teachers an additional day,” she said.
“We’re going to watch the health data very carefully and we’re remaining hopeful we’re going to not see a spike, and if that is the case … we hope to move that same framework down to the intermediate school. But we are going to start with the high school first, and then we will look to see if we can transition intermediate school as well,” Ms. Gleason said.
At the elementary schools, students have been attending class on campus five days a week with early dismissal.
The district also operates an all-virtual elementary school with 206 students enrolled. Ms. Gleason said 46 of those all-virtual elementary students will be transitioning back to on-campus instruction at the midpoint of the marking period.
In some elementary classrooms, the return of more students means six-foot social distancing can’t be implemented between desks, and so the desks will be outfitted with trifold plexiglass shields, she said.
She said the timeline for schools re-opening more fully “has to be very fluid and very current, as current as what the daily and weekly health data look like … and the decisions will always be based on student and staff safety first, while still taking in the input and feedback of administrators, teachers, parents and the school community.”
In a letter sent to Wall parents on Friday, Oct. 9, Superintendent Tracy Handerhan said the district is not ready to fully enter phase two of the reopening plan.
“This week, the school district has also seen an increase in students needing to quarantine due to exposure, as well as a few confirmed cases in our school community,” she wrote
She said school officials telephoned and emailed parents of any student who was in close contact with someone testing positive, and emailed parents of any student thought to be in casual contact.
“The safety of our students and staff is paramount. While nothing would make me happier than to return to a ‘business as usual,’ full-day, five-day operation of the schools, now, unfortunately, is not the time,” Ms. Handerhan wrote.