FREEHOLDERS SUPPORT STATE BILL THAT WILL LOOK AT THE EDUCATIONAL IMPACT OF PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS ON STUDENTS

November 24, 2020

OC Freeholders Support State Bill Educational Impact on Students

A BILL THAT would study the impact of on-again, off-again classroom learning and other educational changes forced on students and teachers during the pandemic has the support of two former teachers on the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari and Freeholder Gerry P. Little said legislation proposed by state Senator M. 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.

"We agree with Senator Ruiz that students have been impacted by the changes in the school routine," Vicari said. "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," he said. "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."

Vicari and Little said they strongly prefer students returning to the classroom, but understand why in some cases the pandemic makes that difficult or even impossible.

The Senate 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.

Vicari and Little said the legislation should receive bipartisan support in Trenton.

"Our children's education cannot become bogged down in politics," Vicari said. "I hope both parties will see the importance of this legislation and act swiftly to make it law."

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