The Vernon Township School District Board of Education on July 15 reached a consensus to continue hybrid meetings, giving the public the opportunity to participate at meetings both in-person and over Zoom.
However, the school board will only allow verbal comments as the email portion, which has been in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be discontinued once an official policy is in place.
The school board plans to draft the policy at the Aug. 12 work session and put the policy up for first reading on Aug. 26.
Board members, however, will be expected to be at the meeting in-person although they will be allowed to participate remotely once per calendar year.
“I think if you know you only get one, you’re going to have incentive to get here and save your one for when you really need it,” Board of Education member Jennifer Pellet said.
Three members of the public asked the school board to continue with the Zoom option going forward.
Doreen Edwards said she has difficulty lasting in person for an entire meeting and former school board member Natalie Buccieri said she thought continuing the Zoom option for the public was important for transparency.
“I think having that ability is one good thing that came out of COVID,” she said.
Buccieri, however, had one caveat. She said it was important for school board members to be there.
Most Board of Education members were in favor of continuing remote access to the public for meetings, and Pellet cited an increase in participation.
“I think pressure should be on the board members to get here,” school board member Ray Zimmerman said.
Board of Education member Joe Sweeney said he prefers the board to be in-person.
“it seems we’re more interactive and much more productive,” he said.
Board of Education President Justin Annunziata said the school board will act under the previous policy until the new one is adopted, meaning emails will be read for at least two more meetings.