Hillsborough Announces “Bridge Program”

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nj.gov

The NJ Department of Education announced the Bridge Program late last year.

Kate Shanahan, Sports/Op Ed Editor

On June 26 of 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law P.L. 2020 c. 41 which installed the Bridge Year Pilot Program. Late last week, Director of Guidance Jessica Smedley announced the program to the HHS community making it an option for the Class of 2021. In what seems to be an already chaotic year for the Class of 2021, this program throws another option for students who want to defer from attending college next year. The overall purpose of this program is to grant students in the classes of 2021 and 2022 with the opportunity to counteract the interruption of learning and participation in extracurricular activities that resulted from the closure of schools in March 2020 due to COVID-19.

The students opting for the Bridge Year Pilot Program would not earn their diploma in June 2021, but these students would continue taking academic classes at HHS and/or Raritan Valley Community College in the fall of 2021 and at RVCC in the spring of 2021. The school has asked that parents and students make this choice quickly and submit their decision to the district no later than 15 Feb 2021 via the Parent Portal.

While this program has its advantages, the program also has some disadvantages. Students wishing to partake in the program to participate in sports may only do so for the spring of 2022. Raiders participating in the Bridge Year Program cannot engage in fall or winter extracurricular activities or sports. For each semester of the bridge year, students must earn between nine and 12 credits in order to pass. In the fall semester, the students will be allowed to earn their credits from HHS and/or RVCC, however, in the spring semester, students must receive all their credits from RVCC.

Every public school district, encompassing both charter and renaissance schools, that enroll high school students are required to offer all eligible students the option of a bridge year. However, nonpublic schools are not obligated to offer this program. More information will certainly be made available to parents and students as the situation evolves.