The Road Forward Update 8/19/21
Dear Parents / Guardians, Students, and Community Members,
I hope this letter finds you and your family well. I want to take this opportunity to thank you once again for your partnership and support and also provide updated information on the plan for September, featuring full-day, in-person education, every day!
Our mission, this school year, is to safely provide as much normalcy as possible as we focus on the “whole child,” academically, social-emotionally, and from a mental-health perspective.
Despite our goal, there are certain hurdles we must still overcome. Although I am sure everyone looks forward to the day when masks are not a part of our daily conversation, we are not there yet. On August, 6, 2021, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 251, which institutes mandatory masking indoors for students, staff and visitors for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Please note that the District has no discretion in following the mandatory mask requirement, which has the full force of law. Here is a letter from the Cranford Public Schools Board attorney which further outlines the masking requirement. Moreover, the mandatory masking requirement has been affirmed by the NJDOE’s Union County Superintendent, the Township Health Department, and the New Jersey School Boards Association.
It is important to note that there are carve outs for certain exceptions within EO 251, including for excessive heat and medical conditions. As it did last year, the District will work with the Township Health Department to determine mask exceptions due to excessive heat. Additionally, if there are medical realities that your individual child is facing, please provide a medical note to your school principal and they will be sure to send it to the school physician for review. Any individual not complying with the executive order will have to be sent home. Thank you in advance for acting in good faith as it relates to this executive order and ensuring that neither the District nor a student is put in a difficult position.
We anticipate that the NJDOH will be updating its guidance for schools in the very near future, and once that happens, we will update our plan accordingly. In the meantime, here is The Plan Forward: September 2021, which, again, features full-day, in-person instruction, every day, while conforming to the current executive orders and guidance from the NJDOH and NJDOE. Please note that there have not been many modifications since the presentation was originally released on June 15, 2021. However, here are some of the highlights of the current plan:
- Masking EO 251 - The Executive Order requiring masks indoors is in effect for the start of the school year.
- Monthly Covid-19 Symptoms Awareness Sign-Off - The COVID19 symptom awareness sign-off sheet will need to be signed monthly.
- Distancing -The District will strive for 6 feet of distancing, but will maintain a minimum of 3 feet in the classrooms.
- Lockers - Lockers can be used this year.
- Lunch / Recess - The District will maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance when students are eating. Recess will take place in grades Prek-5.
- Extra-Curricular Activities and Clubs - We are committed to running these opportunities as close to normal as possible, in accordance with current guidelines and orders.
- When the District is confronted with incidents of COVID-19 positive cases and is required to exclude/quarantine a student based on current NJDOH guidance, students will be provided with virtual home instruction. This approach will provide more personalized instruction for your child without the student having to be in front of the computer for the entire day. Additionally, it will allow the teacher to continue providing high-quality instruction for all students without having to split their attention between students in the classroom and those who may be at home.
- Immediately notify the school of potential close contacts or positive COVID-19 test results. You can continue to report this information here:Cranford Public Schools Covid-19 Reporting Form
Once again, The Plan Forward: September 2021 is available here and your respective school principal will be providing additional information in the very near future.
It is important to note that the work the District has done throughout the past few years, in terms of allocating resources and implementing additional support systems that focus on the “whole child,” puts the District in an excellent position to assist students through these challenging times. Some of these enhancements have included the hiring of additional counselors, child study team members, interventionists, and a District culture and climate coordinator, expanding wrap-around programs, implementing progress monitoring tools, training faculty in mental health first-aid, adopting a full-value model (valuing ourselves, valuing each other, and valuing our future), and infusing social-emotional lessons throughout the curriculum.
Cranford is truly a remarkable place that exemplifies passion, resilience, and an enduring caring and collaborative spirit. Thank you again for your patience, flexibility, partnership, and support as we navigate the upcoming school year.
Be well and stay safe!