BOE hears from parents concerned about school reopening

Hybrid schedule has some questioning lack of teacher contact

The Washington Township Board of Education held its first hybrid session Tuesday, with in-person public comment and some members attending  online.

Many parents spoke about issues they have with the district’s hybrid schedule, including the concern that students are not getting enough help from teachers.

“I agree; there are things we can do better. Be patient,” said Superintendent Joe Bollendorf. “We are just getting underway and we are working hard to change things as they come up.”

While parents at the session thanked the board for allowing students to attend school on a hybrid schedule, many mentioned issues with communication between teachers, students and parents. They also addressed the reopening plans discussed over the past few months and how poor their execution has been. 

Stefanie Venuti, who has two children in the district, told the board her daughter is on the hybrid schedule because of difficult Advanced Placement classes. According to Venuti, her daughter is attending a class where the teacher is virtual and students are in person. 

“It’s no one’s fault; it’s a difficult situation for all of us,” said board President Julie Kozempel.

Parents offered suggestions such as shortening the school day and extending the months students are in school and on split schedules. The board agreed those were options offered at first, but that the hybrid schedule was the best way to get the students back in school.

The board discussed writing a letter to the state requesting it reopen the schools completely and release guidelines on what is needed to accomplish that. The board also announced that when school reopens completely, students will not have a remote option and must regularly attend in person.

In other news: 

  • Dr. Karen Garrison has stepped down from her board seat for medical reasons, according to her Facebook page. The board wants to fill her seat until December of 2021.