Wall High School students polled on return to full on-site classes

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Wall High School FILE PHOTO

WALL TOWNSHIP — Wall High School is surveying students on an option to return to school for in-person learning five days a week beginning March 1, possible because the number of virtual-only students has left ample space for social distancing in the building.

Currently, two student cohorts alternate between attending on campus and learning virtually at home; or students may attend all-virtually.

On Feb. 8, an email was distributed to all students to ascertain their interest in a third option,  on-site instruction five days a week, still on a half-day schedule with no lunch.

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According to Superintendent Tracy Handerhan, a growing number of students have been choosing to remain home for the all-virtual option, leaving classrooms full of unused, socially distanced space.

“In my letter home to Wall families last week, I shared that in-person attendance was not strong at the high school as more students are electing to participate virtually,” Ms. Handerhan said at the virtual Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night. 

“In an effort to accommodate learners preferring five days a week of in-person instruction, … a survey was sent out by high school administration.”

Student response to the survey was great, she said, and the administration is in the process of tallying up the responses now and exploring its options. 

“It was reported to me that the number of survey responses was outstanding, and the high school administration is busy reviewing the results to see if they are able to accommodate the students wishing to come to school five days a week.”

If students commit to attend class in-person for five days per week, they have the option to transition to either the hybrid learning or all-virtual option with a written notice to the school principal, Rosaleen Sirchio, within 10 school days during the marking period, which ends April 16.

If a student commits to the hybrid option, he or she may transition only to the all-virtual learning option. If students commit to the all-virtual option, they must remain in virtual learning for the rest of the marking period. 

All students must report to classes aligned with the option they choose. Students must make a commitment to the option they have selected and physically come to school on assigned days so that teachers can plan lessons effectively. 

If the five-day plan cannot be safely implemented, families will be contacted to select one of the two alternative options already in place.

Wall High School’s student representative at the school board meeting, Isabel Casais, a senior, said that she and many other students are excited for the opportunity to get back into the groove of going to school every day.

“As a senior, I was more than thrilled to have this opportunity to go into school every day,” she said. “It is a step towards being back to normal, which is what we all hope for. A great amount of students are already interested in this option and have high hopes of finishing the year together.”

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