The blowback on Gov. Phil Murphy’s mandate against remote instruction continues. The latest example is at Hudson County Schools of Technology (HCST), where Superintendent Amy Lin-Rodriguez is pleading with he New Jersey Department of Education to again allow remote learning.
Why? Because Hudson County is often subject to flooding, rendering travel unsafe.
On October 25th the the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning because 4 inches of rain was expected overnight, advising county residents to prepare for heavy rains, strong winds, flooding, and “an isolated tornado or two.” As a precaution HCST cancelled school for the following day. Of course, the Schools of Technology are well-equipped to provide remote instruction, especially after the last 18 months. But Gov. Murphy’s mandate forced them to give students a day off: According to current state statute, remote instruction can’t count towards the state mandated 180-day requirement unless a state of emergency caused school closures for more than three consecutive school days.
Lin-Rodriguez said in a statement,
Last month’s weather event and subsequent state of emergency declaration underscores how critical it is that schools be given the flexibility to use remote learning, when appropriate, to limit further learning loss. Permitting our district and others to utilize remote learning during these situations provides an opportunity to put the safety of our students/staff first by eliminating the chance of placing them in a dangerous travel situation, while ensuring that they will be given the educational support they need. We should not be in the practice of gambling with our students’ safety or with their education when there is a clear alternative option that would solve this problem. We should be able to utilize the remote learning infrastructure that we effectively planned and implemented last year.
The New Jersey Department of Education declined to comment on Lin-Rodriquez’s request.
Meanwhile, parents continue to plead for a remote option.