Lampitt, Jasey & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Establish “Bridge Year Pilot Program” Goes to Governor

Measure to Address Learning Loss Resulting from COVID-19 School Closures

Students faced a tremendous disruption to their academics, extra-curricular activities and spring sports programs when schools shut for coronavirus. To help offset missed opportunities and potential learning loss, the full Assembly passed a bill 54-19-5 on Thursday giving it final legislative approval.

The legislation (A-4142) would enable graduating high school seniors, from the classes of 2021 and 2022, to choose to defer graduation and participate in a ‘bridge year’ immediately following their senior year. During this period, students would remain enrolled in high school and would take certain college level credits and participate in co-curricular activities or athletics according to the goals of their individual learning plan.

Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington), Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), sponsors of the bill, issued the following joint statement:

“For countless high schoolers across the State, the spring term is critical to their academic careers. It’s a time when sophomores and juniors are supposed to be taking or preparing to take their college entrance exams, are participating in extracurriculars to explore their interests and engaging with their peers, doing community service or playing a competitive sport, some with the hope of being recruited to a college program.

“Despite schools and educators finding innovative ways to keep the student body connected through distance learning, some activities simply don’t translate in an online setting. Affording high schoolers, whose educational experiences will look different from their peers as a result of this pandemic, a chance to make up for lost time is how we offset the impact of these unprecedented times.”