Gov. Phil Murphy has mandated that New Jersey schools continue remote learning until at least May 15, when the state Department of Education is expected to determine if an extension of virtual education is still necessary, or if students will be allowed to return to school to potentially finish the school year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has massively altered the way school districts operate, with teachers holding lessons via video chats, pre-recorded lessons and other alternative means during social distancing.
Berlin Community School is continuing remote learning but also keeping an eye on how the future of the school year may change.
“It’s evolving every day and every week,” said Superintendent Joseph Campisi. “What we’re doing is utilizing technology and the various different facets and platforms of 21st-century learning … Teachers have been working to increase the amount of time they have with students in order to maintain those relationships and help instruction.
“There wasn’t a lot of time to prepare for this beforehand,” he added, “so a lot of people at BCS are diving into a lot of different things. So I’m really proud of the teachers, parents, students and more for embracing this.”
Outside of the classroom, the school has made multiple school events virtual, including its People’s Choice Awards and talent show. The Berlin district continues to follow the guidance of the state and county Department of Education.
Earlier in April, a communication from the school was sent out informing parents and guardians that Berlin Community School would change its remote learning program to a four-day schedule, Monday through Thursday, with Friday being a Reinforcement and Enrichment Day. But Campisi had to reverse that decision an hour later.
“That notice went out,” he said. “However, following further consideration about all the components that make up a day of learning in accordance with state guidelines, I determined that the best course of action would be to keep the five-day teaching week.”
Some schools across the state have switched to the four-day remote learning schedule, with a fifth day set aside as a way for students to catch up on assigned work and receive additional help. if needed. But BCS will not be one of them.
The Berlin Borough School District’s board of education will have the public hearing of its budget on Wednesday, April 29. The meeting’s agenda is visible on the district’s website, and it will be streamed on the school’s Facebook page. Public participation is possible through the comments of the video.