TOMS RIVER – Members of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders are endorsing a bill that is reviewing the impact of the conditions students are facing through the restrictions of remote learning and hybrid learning.
This bill will look at the on-again, off-again classroom learning and other educational changes that students and teachers have had to adapt to since the pandemic started. It has the support of two former teachers who are Freeholders.
Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari and Freeholder Gerry P. Little said legislation proposed by state Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex, would require the New Jersey Department of Education to immediately study the effects COVID-19-related closures and changes have had on students.
Vicari said, “we agree with Senator Ruiz that students have been impacted by the changes in the school routine. The big question is how much has their education suffered?”
Little said he was also concerned about the other aspects of the school environment that children have lost. “School doesn’t mean just books. I’m concerned that students are losing the support and counseling services available at school. Children learning from home also lose out on the social benefits of interacting with teachers and other students.”
The two Freeholders strongly prefer students returning to the classroom, but understand why in some cases the pandemic makes that difficult or even impossible.
Senator Ruiz’s bill would require the Department of Education to prepare a detailed report on student progress within 60 days of the bill becoming law. The study would help educators prepare a further plan on how to assist students once the pandemic ends and traditional classroom learning resumes throughout the state.
The legislation should receive bipartisan support in Trenton according to Little and Vicari.
Vicari noted, “our children’s education cannot become bogged down in politics. I hope both parties will see the importance of this legislation and act swiftly to make it law.”