Sparta schools to return to hybrid instruction on Jan. 19

Sparta /
| 23 Dec 2020 | 03:40

Sparta. Sparta Township Schools will return to hybrid instruction in its cohort format starting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, acting superintendent Patrick McQueeney said at last Thursday’s board of education meeting. He said the district is unable to do more than that, based upon outside guidelines.

Sparta switched to in-person learning on Nov. 23.

High school parent Stacy Maldonado wrote a letter to the school board that was read at the most recent meeting asking if the district was considering having as many students as choose to return to school on Jan. 19, rather than just the hybrid group. “It amazes me that Sussex County Vo-Tech and a parochial school here in Sparta can have 100 percent of the desired population in school safely since September, and our elite public school cannot safely accommodate 50 percent,” she wrote.

Since the high school opened for in-person learning in November, Maldonado said, her son has had two kids in his class for one live week. “If this is due to supply shortage for students and teachers, such as face shields or plastic barriers for the desks, I believe most parents would purchase them in order to have their child return to school along with their classmates,” she said.

She asked the administration to consider having all the students be offered the opportunity for in-person learning. “The impact of virtual learning is devastating,” she said.

McQueeney said his goal is to bring all students back to school within the guidelines the district has been given by the state departments of health and education. He said the district is beholden to those guidelines, allow the schools to operate in-person only in the hybrid model. “We do anticipate that as the pandemic ebbs and flows, the restrictions that we are operating under will at some point change, which will allow us to modify our plans,” McQueeney said.