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Grantee Blog 2020

Virtual or In-person Learning: Covering all the Bases

As the 2020-2021 academic year rapidly approaches, there is still much uncertainty on how schools will look when they resume. Having to delay, adjust and completely re-imagine our plans for Alexander Batcho Intermediate School (ABIS), has prepared our committed team to be ready to move forward regardless of what learning will look like come September. Manville School District students in the Special Education Department are set to return to ABIS on September 1, 2020. Since these classes have fewer students, the district’s plan is to have these students start the year fully in-person. Despite the district’s current plan to have these students in school every day, the team has decided to plan for the possibility that they could resume virtual learning at any point.

Each student and teacher will receive the same indoor garden kit at the start of the year. As long as in-person education continues, these gardens will be in the two classrooms. Teachers will support students in keeping their gardens healthy, while Rutgers Cooperative Extension will offer virtual education sessions to the students every other week. However, should learning become entirely virtual again, these garden kits give the students and teachers the ability to take them home and continue their growing and learning despite not physically being in school.

Furthermore, New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (NJ SNAP-Ed), which is in run in part by Zufall Health, is taking its Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) trainings virtual this month, August 2020. In order to not overwhelm the teachers at the start of the year, these virtual CATCH trainings will be offered in October. Upon completion of the trainings, both teachers will be able to purchase CATCH equipment. Once again, if students are in the classrooms, teachers will use the CATCH equipment purchased and the lessons they received through the online training, but if schooling reverts back to virtual, teachers will demo with the equipment that was purchased and ask for students to incorporate household items for these lessons.

About the Grantee

Somerset Health Care Foundation

Healthier Somerset is a coalition created to improve the health and well-being of those who live and work in Somerset County. We promote healthy lifestyles through collaboration among 50 partner organizations representing thousands of Somerset County residents, businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, public health officials, healthcare providers, government, and faith-based organizations.