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Monmouth Daily Voice serves Freehold, Howell, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Middletown & Neptune

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COVID-19: Ocean Township Starts With All-Remote Learning Due To Numerous Teacher Leave Requests

Lakewood Middle School has ordered eight modular classroom units to ease crowding. Photo Credit: Google Maps
An aerial view of Lakewood High School (at top) and Lakewood Middle School (center), where modular classrooms are being erected. Photo Credit: Google Maps

COVID-19 is causing chaos for some Jersey Shore school districts as administrators -- and parents -- adjust to new learning curves.

Lakewood Middle School, for instance, delayed its Friday reopening until next week because eight modular classrooms are not ready. 

The Ocean County township's school district plan to erect outdoor classroom units to ease crowding and avoid spreading coronavirus, officials said.

Meanwhile, in Monmouth County, the Ocean Township School District switched course --- and opted to resume learning by teaching remotely -- after at least 37 staff members requested leaves-of-absence.

Administrators warned the school board at a virtual meeting that "it's a fluid number."

Last week, the school district found substitutes (or staff changes) to cover about one-third of the expected absences -- but has since announced it needs more time to fill all the vacant teaching slots.

That district's remote learning option is now in place until at least Sept. 14, Ocean Township school officials announced. 

The school district initially planned to start with a "hybrid schedule" on Thursday -- where children would have come to school two days a week.

But after 31 staff members sought leaves under the "Families First Coronavirus Response Act," Ocean Township School District officials said they needed more time to hire substitutes.

The act allows for paid leave for workers at high risk for coronavirus or childcare needs.

In addition to the 31 leave requests in Ocean Township, at least six more staff members submitted requests to stay home under the the "Family and Medical Leave Act," officials said.

The school district also ordered about 1,600 plastic desk-shields for long-term health protection. 

A final decision on a classroom reopening date will be made by Tuesday, Sept. 8, Ocean Township officials said. 

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