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New Jersey clarifies expectations regarding mandatory fulltime remote learning option for fall 2020

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has mandated that school districts provide fulltime, all-remote options for schooling in the Fall of 2020. On Friday, July 24, 2020, NJDOE issued supplementary guidance, summarized below, clarifying expectations for this instruction.

All students are eligible for fulltime remote learning.  You do not have to show that you or your child has an increased risk of illness or meet any kind of criteria to request fulltime remote instruction.  Everyone, including students with disabilities attending in-district schools or in out of district placements, must have access to this option. For students with disabilities, school districts must determine if an IEP meeting or amendment to an IEP is needed for fulltime remote learning.

School districts must clearly define procedures to submit requests related to remote instruction. Every school district must provide clear instructions for requesting fulltime remote learning, including requests to begin the school year remotely and requests to transition from in-person/hybrid services to fulltime remote learning. Districts must limit required documentation to the minimum information needed to ensure proper recordkeeping . Upon satisfaction of these minimum procedures, the district must approve the fulltime remote learning request.

The fulltime remote learning option must provide the same quality and scope of instruction as students participating in hybrid or in-person instruction. Fulltime remote learning must provide access to standards-based instruction of the same quality and rigor as that afforded all other students of the district. The district must make its best effort to ensure that every student participating in remote learning has access to the required educational technology and the provision of special education and related services to the greatest extent possible. Fulltime remote learning must adhere to length of school day requirements and attendance policies.

Districts must provide guidance for families seeking to transition between in-person or hybrid services and fulltime remote learning. For families requesting to transition to fulltime remote delivery from in-person or hybrid services, the school district must clearly define any additional services, procedures, or expectations for the transition period. For families seeking to transition out of fulltime remote learning, districts must set forth policies defining (i) how much time a student must spend in fulltime remote learning before being able to transition back to in-person services; (ii) the procedures to follow, including relevant timelines and required documentation; and (iii) the specific student and academic services that will accompany a student’s transition to in-person learning.

NJDOE requires school districts to report data regarding participation in fulltime remote learning. In order for NJDOE to understand the extent and nature of demand for fulltime remote learning in New Jersey, school districts must report data regarding participation in remote learning, including the number of students participating by each of the following subgroups: economically disadvantaged; major racial and ethnic groups; students with disabilities; and English learners.

Need more information?  Contact the attorneys at Reisman Carolla Gran & Zuba LLP,, by email or at 856.354.0021.  Our attorneys are working hard to ensure continuity of services and to protect our children now more than ever.