HomeCherry Hill NewsMeloche quashes talk of schools opening on half days

Meloche quashes talk of schools opening on half days

When Cherry Hill schools begin the 2021-’22 academic year in earnest on Sept. 9, they will unquestionably do so on a full-day schedule, according to Superintendent Joseph Meloche. 

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During the board of education’s Aug. 10 work session, Meloche quickly quashed a rumor that had apparently cropped up in recent days. 

“We are not opening on a half-day schedule,” he stated. “We’re opening on a full-day schedule. If anybody tells you we are opening on a half-day schedule, that is a vicious rumor.

“We are ready for full days of instruction.”

Meloche added that the only early dismissal would be for kindergarten through fifth grade, at 1 p.m. on the first day of school, which occurs every year. Regardless of individual school timetables, the year will also begin with all persons employed by the district as well as all visitors to district schools required to wear masks.

In preparation for almost 11,000 students to walk the halls once more, the health, safety, social and emotional well being of students and staff is paramount. Four days prior to the meeting, Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order that mandated indoor mask wearing for the start of the upcoming year. Meloche reiterated that policy had been in place in district schools long before the new legislation was enacted, and would not change. 

“Everybody in our school buildings must wear a mask,” he said.

On Aug. 6, Murphy announced that all students, educators, staff and visitors would be required to wear face masks indoors for the start of the new school year. The governor signed Executive Order 251, which mandated masking indoors at all public, private and parochial preschool, elementary- and secondary-school buildings, with limited exceptions, effective Aug. 9. 

“We understand that students learn best in a classroom setting and remain committed to having our schools open for full time, in person instruction this fall,” Murphy said in a statement that accompanied the order.

“While this announcement gives us no pleasure, I know that by taking this precaution we can keep our schools open while also keeping our children safe. We will continue to closely monitor the science and data and will lift this mandate when we can do so safely. 

“I urge those who are eligible for vaccination but have yet to be vaccinated to act and help move our state in the right direction.”

Meloche later revealed that breakfast and lunch would continue to be served every day to  students who may be in need, but participation in the district’s meal plan would not be required. 

“Some students will need to eat in the classroom,” he added. “There will be spots for them to eat, after the bell, based on when kids arrive at their school. Outdoor eating will be an option, depending on the weather.”

Building-specific details on meal times and locations will be released at a later time through each school’s principal. 

In keeping with district policy since the start of the pandemic kept students at home, Meloche also said technology will be readily available for those who need it. 

“We will continue to ensure that the digital divide is closed in our community,” he promised. “Our students and staff have access to technology necessary to be successful, including devices and internet connectivity that they can take home.”

The board is expected to hold its next open public session on Aug. 24, 6:30 p.m., at Carusi Middle School. Meetings will be held in person and also livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel: https://tinyurl.com/vz6nwk58.


Former radio broadcaster, hockey writer, Current: main beat reporter for Haddonfield, Cherry Hill and points beyond.

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