Voorhees school board discusses in person learning for fourth marking period

Survey of parents will be available until March 19.

The Voorhees Township Public School’s Board of Education met in person on Feb. 24 to discuss the potential of students going back to in person learning five days a week at the start of the fourth marking period in April. The public was only able to attend the meeting via Zoom.

Dr. David Gentile, superintendent of schools announced that as part of the effort to return to an in person learning schedule, a survey was sent out and posted to the Voorhees Township Public School District’s website that asks whether parents intend to send their children back to school during the fourth marking period if the option is available, even if social distancing cannot be guaranteed. The survey will remain live through March 19.

“We want to make sure we have as much information as possible to make good decisions and prepare, we really need to have a firm commitment for the fourth marking period,” said  Gentile.

Once the survey results are back, the superintendent said the district will be able to see what  classrooms will be impacted and adjust them accordingly, reconfiguring and removing unnecessary furniture to create more space and potentially reassigning classrooms to better balance the numbers.

The schools are now using a hybrid model where students are split into cohorts that meet in person three days a week, alternating every other Wednesday. Parents who want to continue remote learning will be able to do so. With the shift to an in person schedule, Gentile also shared concerns about maintaining social distancing.

“In most of the classrooms, we have looked at the data and believe we’d be okay,” he explained. “It’d be for a limited number of classrooms throughout the district, and it’s still unclear whether it’d be permissible by the Department of Education and the Department of Health to hold school if we couldn’t ensure that.”

The superintendent is waiting to hear back from both departments on whether or not the in person plan will be allowed, but said parents will be notified when he has an answer.

Gentile also reviewed the different safety measures currently in place at the schools, including nightly UV sanitation technology cleanings, bolstering of HVAC systems, additions of desk partitions and the renewal of PPE. Students will continue to require masks and undergo daily health screenings. Gentile commended the custodial, maintenance and cafeteria staffs for their work, as well as faculty who are continuing to provide a warm learning environment.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, at the Osage Elementary School, with limited seating for staff and the public due to COVID. Attendees must wear masks, maintain social distance and remain in their seats.

More information can be found at https://www.voorhees.k12.nj.us/Page/94340.The public is also invited to attend via Zoom if seating is not available.