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State Sen. Teresa Ruiz. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Sweeney, Ruiz, Thompson launch education task force

Group aiming to bridge COVID-19 digital divide

By Nikita Biryukov, April 09 2020 11:38 am

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Sens. Teresa Ruiz and Sam Thompson announced the formation of an education task force that will seek to overcome remote-learning hurdles created by the COVID-19 crisis.

“During this unprecedented crisis, we cannot wait to address how to best serve students and families during such a disruption,” said Ruiz, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “We must act now to ensure that the supports — academic, social emotional and technological — are in place to allow all students and families to emerge from this crisis as best they can.”

Officials in the state are concerned that swaths of students now forced to attend school at home do not have internet connections or digital devices needed for Remote learning.

A survey found that as many as 30% of Camden students have access to resources needed for remote learning at home.

“Individual districts, classes, and families have discovered what works and what doesn’t over the last few weeks, and they’ve also identified gaps in resources and support that need to be filled,” Thompson said. “Our taskforce will help us to bring all of this information together to improve our remote learning capabilities statewide. We certainly hope our students can return to their classrooms quickly, but we must prepare for the possibility that this crisis will be prolonged or repeated at some point in the future.”

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