By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – In its reopening plan posted on the school district website, Margate is offering half-day in-person classes with an option for remote learning starting Sept. 3. The half-day classes meet the state requirement for four hours of instruction.
The administration of the Margate public schools worked with representative committees charged with reviewing state reopening guidelines and conducted a survey for parents and staff to develop the plan.
According to Superintendent Thomas Baruffi, safety of students and staff is the district’s top priority.
“While we know this year will not look the same as others, we also know that the perfect plan that will satisfy everyone’s wishes does not exist,” Baruffi said in a July 22 letter to Margate families.
School will start Thursday, Sept. 3, with children attending in-person classes 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, with everyone wearing masks and social distancing. There will be no recess or lunch period, although snacks will be offered along with grab-and-go lunches.
In a Powerpoint document posted on the district website, www.margateschools.org, Baruffi said children benefit from social interactions with age-appropriate peers.
Masks will be worn at all times and many extracurricular clubs and programs will be offered, either remotely or in-person when possible.
Health screenings will be conducted daily for all students and staff members along with frequent hand-washings. The district is purchasing supplies and will be sanitizing surfaces daily and limiting the use of shared materials.
With the reduced class time, it will be important to prioritize “critical content” and “essential learning” will be emphasized.
The district has yet to determine how children will enter and exit the school and which extracurricular activities will be offered, the document states. The district also needs to identify K-4 children who need after-school care, but due to reduced capacity, the district requests it be reserved for working parents. Kindergarten and fifth grade orientations are planned, but dates have yet to be announced.
Parents who wish to have their children learn remotely will be required to notify the district before September. Any remote learning will last for at least the first marking period. Parents can opt-out and switch to in-class learning before the second marking period.
The plan is subject to change based on state guidance, and could change before the start of the school year. Parents are encouraged to attend a special informational meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4 in the Dominick A. Potena Performing Arts Center which will further explain the plan and answer any related questions.
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