Less than a month after the start of the school year, the Marlboro district is planning to start bringing more of its 5,300 students into classrooms.

During Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting, Marlboro schools Superintendent Eric Hibbs said he has been "consistently asked" by parents when students will increase their time in classrooms.

"What really came back most was the fact that kids need to be in school more and I honestly couldn't agree more," Hibbs said.

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Like many districts, Marlboro's return plans included starting the year remotely but move to a hybrid schedule at some point in the fall. According to Marlboro's plan, Phase 1 would last approximately through the end of September with a reevaluation to decide the next step.

According to Hibbs' announced Phase 2 plan, students would be in classrooms four and a half days per week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, an increase from two days.

Elementary students would move to Phase 2 on Oct. 5 and middle school students on Oct. 13. Middle school teachers would return to classrooms to teach remotely on Oct. 5 to make sure "we are functioning and running correctly," Hibbs said.

The plan hinges on schools remaining safe and no problems cropping up, Hibbs said.

Parents will have the option to change their child's status to all-remote learning before the start of the second marking period.

"The world that we're living in right now is not one that I can honestly see changing in the near future," Hibbs said Tuesday night. "There is debate right now between the president and the CDC about when the target date is for the vaccine and the concept of a vaccine is not something that we can even rely on to help us."

The superintendent said that in order to stop the transmissions of the COVID-19 coronavirus or eradicate it, a significant amount of the population needs to take the vaccine. He used his family as an example of why that level may not be reached quickly.

"There are both sides of the vaccine and I don't know where everyone on this call is for their children. I can tell you honestly that my personal feeling is that I am not sticking that needle in any of my three children until I know what that actually looks like or does," Hibbs said.

The Marlboro Education Association on Wednesday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for a response.

Elsewhere in the state, more than two dozen students and staff from six East Brunswick schools are quarantining after they came in contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter from Superintendent Victor Valeski.

Valeski said 27 students and 10 teachers from Team 3 at East Brunswick High School had "direct contact" with an individual who tested positive.

In a separate case, two individuals "from local athletic teams not related to East Brunswick schools" created "close contacts" at the Central, Chittick, Lawrence Brook Memorial elementary schools and Hammarskjold Middle School, which houses the district's before and after-care programs

“This illustrates the far-reaching impact a singular positive COVID case can have on our schools and our ability to safely remain open,” Valeski said in the letter.

Lakewood school district attorney Michael Inselbuch reported one positive case in a staff member from Lakewood High School who has gone into quarantine. No students or staff were identified as close contacts with the individual.

Lakewood schools have been on a full in-person schedule since the beginning of the academic year to the objection of the Lakewood Education Association, which preferred an all-remote schedule over safety concerns for students and staff.

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