When school resumes Jan. 4 after winter break, the entire Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD) will shift to a fully remote model. The target date for students to resume in-person instruction in the hybrid model is Tuesday, Jan. 19 after the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
LRHSD schools are safe and there has been no evidence of COVID-19 transmission within the buildings. The decision to go to a fully remote model after the New Year is a proactive one that will allow for a time and space cushion following holiday travel and gatherings. It is based on many factors, including consultation with local health officials and the status of neighboring schools. The District recognizes that similar, proactive closures of schools in our area are creating childcare challenges for many of our employees.
An important factor was our own history. The LRHSD had several temporary closures following two fall holidays. Two schools were closed following Halloween and three schools were closed following Thanksgiving due to a spike in positive and presumed positive COVID-19 cases. Further, several staff and students have had to quarantine due to being identified as close contacts of either confirmed positive or presumed positive COVID-19 cases.
While the district will miss five in-person instructional days during this momentary pause, it feels this short closure will help it return to in-person learning with healthy students and staff. Providing a remote-learning cushion after a holiday has a number of advantages. It allows for contact tracing, limits the number of close-contact scenarios that result in domino-effect quarantines, and enables students and staff members to return to schools with lower risk.
Athletics may resume on Jan. 11, barring a spike in COVID-19 cases or Burlington County being classified as “very high risk” on the state’s COVID-19 Activity Level Index.
The principals will provide more information regarding the schedule for students and staff.
Superintendent Carol Birnbohm thanks the community for its understanding and continued assistance in helping keep students, staff, and entire LRHSD community safe. She wishes everyone in the LRHSD community a healthy and safe holiday season and looks forward to in-person learning with healthy students and staff on Jan. 19.