A row of lockers at Brick Township High School. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A row of lockers at Brick Township High School. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The Brick Township school district is planning a gradual increase of in-person learning come November, officials said at a meeting of the Board of Education.

Superintendent Thomas Farrell said the district is expecting to move into the beginning of “phase two” of its restart plan Nov. 16, beginning with grades K-2, quickly followed by grades 3-5. The schools will operate in-person classes Monday through Thursday, with Friday being a virtual learning day to allow a deep cleaning of buildings. Parents will be notified of their children’s exact schedules.

“We anticipate middle school to be offering a similar schedule starting around the end of November, and our hope is that high school students will be afforded the same option by the end of November,” said Farrell, noting the planned return is not “etched in stone.”

Parents will still be able to choose a fully virtual learning experience. The district, depending on the status of the coronavirus pandemic next month, may change the schedule to reflect the realities of the scenario.

“We will continue to monitor and adjust each level of phase two … based on the data, information and guidance from the Department of Health and the New Jersey Department of Education,” said Farrell.

The superintendent also expressed some concerns over the upcoming week off for students and staff due to the New Jersey Education Association’s annual convention. Brick schools close for the entire week starting Nov. 2 in order to align with the rest of Ocean County. Farrell urged both parents as well as staff members to be aware of quarantine restrictions imposed on those who travel out of the state or the country.

“Please be cognizant of one’s moral, ethical and civic responsibility, not to mention a professional expectation of staff in making decisions regarding travel,” said Farrell.

A loss of staff due to quarantine regulations could create a “great hardship for the students we teach,” he added.