HOBOKEN, NJ — The Hoboken public schools have largely stayed open for full-day classes amid the pandemic this fall, five days per week, while many other districts stayed remote for months or offered only hybrid plans.
The first week of school in Hoboken was all remote, and there has been one district school that shut temporarily, but most have been able to stay open.
The district has used a number of strategies, including having desks spaced apart with plexiglas shields. In addition, class sizes started out at 10 or 11 students, largely because 52 percent of the student body chose to stay remote for the beginning of the year. (Students were offered a choice of either full-time on-site learning, or full-time remote. All districts in New Jersey must offer remote learning as a choice.)
A new video (posted below) shows the efforts the district has made to keep students safe as they stay open.
The video was created by Hoboken mom Sara Kalish (@sara kalish photography on Facebook).
Remote after Thanksgiving, but two grades go remote earlier
Meanwhile, over the weekend, Superintendent of Schools Christine Johnson announced that the district public schools will be all-remote for the five days after Thanksgiving weekend. The announcement followed a steep rise in coronavirus cases in Hoboken and statewide, as well as guidance from state and local leaders encouraging that people keep their Thanksgiving gatherings small and to avoid travel, if possible.
New Jersey has asked those who visit 45 other states to quarantine upon return.
Also on Saturday, Johnson said that due to a positive coronavirus case, "At this time, we have placed the eighth grade at Hoboken Middle School on remote learning and one section of the sixth grade on remote learning for this coming week and the week after." She explained the process behind contract tracing and school closures in the letter.
She also said that there was one case of the virus at Hoboken High School, "resulting in the requirement of self-quarantining by a circle of students and two staff members."
On Sunday night, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said that the city had seen its highest daily total of new cases on Thursday — 27 cases confirmed that day — and that six Hoboken residents are currently fighting the virus at Hoboken University Medical Center. Read more about the mayor's Sunday night comments on Hoboken's cases, and about statewide statistics, here.
Hoboken, a mile-square city of 53,000 people across the river from Manhattan, was one of the first cities in the region to begin closing facilities when the virus began spreading in the U.S.
You can watch the video on Facebook here. Leave comments for Patch readers below.
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