CPS transitioning to all virtual 11/30

 

Dear Cranford community,


I hope this correspondence finds you and your family doing well.  The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the District will transition to full remote learning after the Thanksgiving holiday (November 26 - November 29), starting Monday, November 30, through Friday, December 11.  On Monday, December 14, the District plans to return to our current system of hybrid in-person instruction, assuming the circumstances at that time support a return.


I know this is disappointing news, but please know the decision was based on a review of the most current data and circumstances and guided by the Township Health Department.  The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) released the latest COVID-19 Activity Level Report yesterday, Thursday, November 19, which includes data for the week ending November 14, 2020.  The report indicates that the COVID-19 activity level for the Central East region, which Cranford is a part of, is HIGH overall, and the COVID-19 case rate is identified as VERY HIGH.  The New Jersey DOH recommends that school districts consider moving to fully remote learning when the regional status changes to HIGH risk.  Additionally, the numbers of new and active cases in our community continue to show an upward trend over the last few weeks

   

Moreover, it is anticipated that there will be a sharp increase in the level of travel and gatherings over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend, resulting in greater opportunity for transmission of the virus throughout our community and a subsequent need for quarantining.  In fact, the governor has restricted the number of individuals who can gather indoors and outdoors as a result of the current data as well as concerns for the future.  Additionally, the governor, in an effort to stem some of the tide, has asked college students to test for COVID-19 prior to coming home and also quarantine prior to going back to school and, yesterday, the C.D.C. strongly urged everyone to avoid travel for Thanksgiving all together.


Based on all of the concerning information above, the Township Health Department has guided the District to transition to remote instruction for 14 days following the Thanksgiving holiday.  Please note this approach will also provide an opportunity for families who plan to gather over the holiday weekend, in accordance with the governor’s executive orders, to still be able to quarantine for 14 days in preparation for school to resume in-person on Monday, December 14.  We are hopeful that this pause will allow the District to resume in-person education as soon as possible.


Please know how much we value in-person education.  Cranford is one of the few school districts that developed a plan where elementary school students can attend school every day.  Additionally, Cranford is one of the few school districts that started an in-person hybrid school model in September and has been able to continue with relatively little disruption.  Please be assured we will continue to try and implement in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible as we move forward.  

 

Whether schools can resume the hybrid in-person model in a sustainable way is partly dependent on the choices we all make as a community when we are away from school.  I certainly understand and appreciate the desire for family and friends to want to get together over the holiday weekend, especially given the length of the pandemic.  However, we must do so safely, responsibly, and in accordance with current guidelines. As health officials have stated, please socialize outside, wear a mask and stay six feet apart.  Adherence to these practices will increase our chances of being able to continue with hybrid in-person instruction.


Your child’s respective school principal will be reaching out to you to provide more information with regard to the temporary transition to full remote learning with regard to resources and supplies, including assisting with potential technology needs.  Please know that free and reduced lunches will continue to be available for those who qualify during this time.


Again, I cannot thank you enough for your partnership!  Your patience, flexibility and support truly exemplify the qualities that make Cranford such a special place.


We will only get through this together!


Be well and stay safe.


Best,


Scott Rubin

 

Scott Rubin, Ed.D.

Superintendent
Cranford Public Schools
132 Thomas Street
Cranford, NJ 07016