Reopening Notice 7/15/20
Dear Parents / Guardians, Students, and Community Members,
I hope this correspondence finds you and your family well. I am writing to follow up on my email of July 6 and share a framework for re-entry in September. Creating a plan for a situation that may shift is very challenging as was evidenced recently with the frequent changes in graduation guidance for the class of 2020. Therefore, in order to best prepare the community for what the future may hold, the District is outlining its plan for September based on the current guidance as well as providing plans should the State relax or increase constraints. Our goal is for all students to be in school as much as possible while preserving the safety of all students and staff in the school environment.
Please note that what follows are just the basic tenets of these plans. There will be more specifics to follow through future correspondence and via TV35 and Cranford Radio.
It is important to note that some districts announced their intentions to bring back all of their students every day based on guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) which supports social distancing of 3 feet. However, the State has since clarified that school districts must use the NJDOE guidance based on the CDC social distancing guidelines which currently recommend 6 feet. Although this may change in the future, districts must adhere to the most current guidelines. Therefore, please be advised that the plans below may shift should there be changes in State guidance and / or District circumstances.
Plan A (based on current State guidance which states that districts use 6 feet as their social distancing standard includes):
Preschool - 5: Schools will be open to all elementary school students every day, on a modified schedule, which will roughly follow a single session day (no lunch/ recess period). Teachers will livestream what is taking place in the front of the room so that students who remain on virtual instruction can follow along with the class from home. Please note that Preschool and ½ day K will meet every day for 2.5 hours.
6 - 8: Middle School students will be split into two cohorts where one group will attend school in-person on Mondays and Wednesdays and alternating Fridays and another group will attend school in-person on Tuesdays and Thursdays and alternating Fridays. Each cohort will attend school on a modified schedule, which will roughly follow a single session day (no lunch). Teachers will livestream what is taking place in the front of the room so that students who are not scheduled to be in-person or who remain on virtual instruction can follow along with the class from home.
9 - 12: High School students will be split into three cohorts where each group will attend school in-person every third day. Each cohort will attend school on a modified schedule, which will roughly follow a single session day (no lunch). Teachers will livestream what is taking place in the front of the room so that students who are not scheduled to be in-person or who remain on virtual instruction can follow along with the class from home.
Plan B (Should the State amend its requirements and allow districts to use 3 feet with face coverings as the social distancing guidelines):
Schools will be open to all students every day, on a modified schedule, which will roughly follow a single session day (no lunch/ recess period).
Teachers will livestream what is taking place in the front of the room so that students who remain on virtual instruction can follow along with the class from home.
Important items of note for plans A or B:
Parents may opt to have their children remain on virtual instruction.
All faculty and students will have their temperature checked prior to gaining entrance to school. We will require that anyone exhibiting symptoms of any illness remain home from school.
The NJDOE guidance states the following, “School staff and visitors are required to wear face coverings unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health or the individual is under two years of age. Students are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings and are required to do so when social distancing cannot be maintained, unless doing so would inhibit the student’s health.”
Special Education programming will be based on each child’s IEP and may entail supplemental and extended programming.
Time will be provided during the day to allow for handwashing, mask “breaks,” snack, and physical movement.
Free and Reduced lunches (Grab and Go) will be provided for those who qualify.
We recognize that an early dismissal schedule is a hardship for some families. However, serving lunch by congregating large numbers of students in lunchrooms is problematic and so is having students eat lunch in classrooms, as it requires the removal of face coverings and the potential introduction of allergens. Additionally, Governor Murphy’s executive order does not currently allow in-person dining in restaurants; therefore, it would make it difficult to justify serving lunch in schools at this time. We will reassess at the end of September and based on the results adjust as necessary, including the possibility of adding lunch / recess and extending to a full-day. The earlier dismissal of students will also provide additional time to sanitize the school buildings on a daily basis. Please note we will adjust the opening / dismissal of schools so that high school and middle school students will be released prior to the elementary school students so that they may provide additional assistance to families.
Plan C (Should the State require districts to close all in-person instruction):
The District will activate an Enhanced Emergency Education Distance Learning Plan.
Teachers will provide a single session virtual day, roughly following each student’s typical schedule.
All teachers will use Google Classroom / Google Meet
While we understand some of the hardships involved in anything less than a 100% return to school, we ask that you begin to make arrangements to help bring students to school every day with safeguards and virus mitigation strategies in place. We ask that you please begin to create mask or face covering “endurance” with your children. Please find reusable/washable face coverings that your child is comfortable wearing and gradually build up the amount of time they can tolerate wearing them. Next, please ensure that you have a working thermometer in your home, personal supplies of hand sanitizer (alcohol-based) that your child can carry to school, and any other personal effects that you think will help your child feel comfortable back in a school environment. We will communicate additional information about health and hygiene practices in the future, but these small steps now will help in the fall, regardless of the type of Plan we implement.
I know that this is a lot to digest and it may be subject to change. This correspondence is not meant to be comprehensive. Our full plan will address many other issues and considerations with respect to school routines, transportation, instruction and assessment, curricular resources, technology support, health and hygiene practices, and more. We will provide additional information by the end of July, but wanted to provide you with a sense of our direction.
Because your input is critical to our planning, please complete the September School Reopening Planning Survey for each of your children in the District. The information will be reviewed and utilized as we continue to make preparations.Please complete the survey by Monday, July 20, 2020.
Thank you for your support, assistance, and partnership! We will get through this together!