To Our School Board Community:
We have been trying to anticipate and quickly respond to your questions during this time, given the unprecedented challenges presented to our Boards related to COVID-19 school closures.
Yesterday Governor Murphy announced that the Department of Education (“DOE”) would be releasing guidance this week allowing parents to select all-remote learning for their children. We will update you as soon as possible when said guidance is released.
We hope the DOE and the Governor address whether schools will still be required to be physically open for 180 days, or whether hybrid opening plans where there are days schools are not open to students will satisfy the 180 day requirement pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:7F-9, which currently only allows such a remote instruction day to count if the school is required to close the schools of the district for more than three consecutive school days due to a declared state of emergency, declared public health emergency, or a directive by the appropriate health agency or officer to institute a public health-related closure. We also hope the DOE and the Governor addresses the same issues for hybrid openings where the school is physically open for students for 180 days, but not all students are allowed to attend every day.
Additionally, we are hopeful that the Governor and DOE will address the logistics of allowing parents to choose remote instruction, such as whether such a choice is a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly decision, is such a decision reversible, what level of remote instruction will be required, and whether students exercising remote learning options will be required to receive all services remotely or be able to participate in extracurricular and co-curricular activities.
Our e-mails about recent developments are not intended to substitute for our legal advice to our clients based on your specific needs or requests. In addition, our guidance is subject to, and can be superseded by new laws, rules, regulations, or orders. Moreover, some directives from the Federal and State authorities can appear, and can be, contradictory or in conflict, so please contact us for assistance.
As always, please contact us with any questions. We will continue to do our best to keep you updated in the coming days and weeks.