As Camden schools finalize fall plans, staff worry of returning to classrooms

Camden County school meeting
Photo credit Camden County
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Camden County’s two largest school districts, Camden and Cherry Hill, are finalizing their coronavirus back-to-school plans. 

The first draft of the Cherry Hill School District’s fall schedule suggests a hybrid of virtual and in-person learning.

 “We are looking at one full day where nobody is in school, and then two days where cohorts of children are in school,” explained Superintendent Joe Meloche during an online county update with Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli.

Meloche said he will present an updated plan to the Cherry Hill school board on July 28 — the same day that Camden City School District Superintendent Katrina McCombs unveils her back-to-school blueprint. 

She said the number of teachers who will physically return to classrooms will be a deciding factor for the plan.

“We also proactively put out a survey — and I’m sure Joe did in Cherry Hill as well — to just get a sense of how many of our staff members would require accommodations or felt that they may not be able to come back in person,” McCombs said. “Right now, it looks like that number is about a third of our staff members.”

McCombs wasn’t confident that Camden would have enough teachers available to start the school year.

“I can say honestly at this point that we are not 100% sure,” she continued. “The plan that we will roll out will take into consideration any trending numbers that we are receiving with regard to our staff members, who we know will not be able to join us in person.”

Meloche added the Cherry Hill School District is still considering whether teachers would be given the option of teaching exclusively online.