Ocean City, one of the few districts in the state to continue to keep schools open with hybrid scheduling since the start of the school year, hopes to transition to in-person instruction for all grades before the end of the year, according to a press release Tuesday.
In-person instruction began with grades kindergarten through fifth in February and continues with sixth grade in mid-March.
District leaders say that there is one large hurdle to overcome before the remainder of students can transition, and that’s the 6 feet of social distancing restrictions.
In a letter to the school district community, Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor and Board of Education President Joseph Clark explained how the physical classroom sizes limit the schools from allowing a normal class size to follow the 6 feet of social distancing guidelines for grades 7 through 12.
Until the social distancing guidelines are changed, they believe taking all students full time in-person could potentially push their progress back.
“We are doing all we can do to continue to move forward while following CDC Guidelines,” Dr. Taylor stated in the press release. “Our primary school and intermediate school class sizes allowed for this transition, but unfortunately the other grades will continue to teach via hybrid until the safety guidelines are changed. Despite what we wish could happen, safety is still our number one priority.”
The community letter encourages parents and guardians to reach out to Gov. Phil Murphy’s office, the New Jersey Department of Health, the New Jersey Department of Education and state legislators to request the social distancing restrictions to be lifted or updated to a maximum of 3 feet of social distancing.
“Ocean City’s efforts will be more successful if we work together, as a community,” the letter says.
Along with the letter written to the community, Dr. Taylor and Clark drafted a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy to begin these efforts.
For more information, view the community letter and the letter sent to Gov. Murphy by Dr. Taylor and Clark.
Updates will continue to be posted via SwiftK-12 messaging, social media, as well as the OCSD website. The current Hybrid Plan and additional COVID-prevention guidelines can be found on the district website at oceancityschools.org.