Morris School District Plans for In-Person Instruction Beginning January 3rd

Morristown Minute

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Morristown Minute

Despite rising COVID cases from the new Omicron variant, Morris School District commits to in-person learning beginning January 3rd.

Morris School District students will return to in-person learning on January 3rd and for the foreseeable future. This announcement was made despite the rising cases of the new Omicron variant currently spreading throughout the country.

Morris County is seeing a seven-day positive test count of 1,204 cases. A year to the day Morris County was seeing a seven-day positive test count of 170 cases.

Morris School District said that despite the rising positive test rate “a virtual option can only be authorized by the state of NJ or the appropriate health agency.”

Since a virtual option is no longer at the discretion of individual school districts, Morris County will have to rely on state health agencies to closely monitor our district's COVID case numbers.

The isolation and quarantine period for infected students remains as follows: 10-day isolation without a negative test; 7-day isolation with a negative test taken between days 5 and 7.

Our district’s schools will continue to monitor student health by asking students and families to complete daily COVID-19 screening questionnaires.

Governor Murphy has stated that his administration has no plans to require vaccination for students to attend in-person classes. Additionally, there is currently no rule or guidelines stating that schools must shut down or move to virtual learning if cases rise above a certain threshold.

Many parents and students are concerned with the quality of virtual education and would prefer their children to be taught in person. One benefit of online education is in its ability to increase access to education for all students. However, the fear of many parents is that students will not learn as effectively with online education.

A 2014 study on the effects of virtual education revealed that student learning was virtually unaffected by online learning. Researchers found that there was no significant decrease in student achievement for online learning and stated, “fears of reduction in the quality of education are misplaced.”

Results appear to show no significant difference in the effectiveness of online education, highlighting that online education options should still be a viable option for our district’s schools. If COVID numbers continue to rise and state health officials order districts back to virtual learning, we can rest easy knowing online options prove to be just as effective as in-person schooling.

There is merit to parents' concerns over online schooling. Schools also provide socialization for students and for parents who work on location, schools provide a place for children to be supervised during work hours.

How do you feel about our students returning to in-person learning? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sources:

Chingos, M. M., & Schwerdt, G. (2014). Virtual schooling and student learning: Evidence from the Florida Virtual School. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved Oct, 25, 2014.

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