Reopening Questions/Concerns - August 2020
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Dear Little Silver Families,
Knowing that the formal reopening Plan that was submitted to the County Office is quite long, the decision was made to create a slide deck that provides families with a more concise version of the district's plans for September. In addition to the Reopening slides, there is a second slide deck that provides more details about our plans for learning and staff development. See both slides below. Finally, included in the reopening slides and on this webpage below, you will find a special email account that has been established for families to send questions, comments and concerns. I encourage you to use that email address for this purpose because I am planning to respond to as many of the questions as possible during an evening Superintendent's Update Session on Tuesday, August 25. More details about this event will follow.
Michael E. Ettore
Click the button at the bottom of the slide deck to view the presentations in full screen mode.
Download the full Little Silver Schools Restart and Recovery Plan (this plan is pending Board approval on August 27).
Little Silver Schools continues to solicit information from staff members and parents; receive guidance from the NJDOE and local health officials; and utilize every resource at our disposal to further develop a SAFE return to school for the 2020-2021 school year. Please use this web page-- which will be updatClick here to read the Parent Opt Out letter to Parents July 31, 2020ed throughout the summer-- as a resource to understand our plans so you and your family can best prepare for a return to school this fall.
Click here to read the Reopening Letter July 23, 2020
Questions & Answers
In order to comply with health guidelines, The Road Back, and a detailed analysis of our physical spaces in each building for the safe operation of our schools, we must provide ample space for students and staff to maintain social distancing while in the building. This means we must divide the building population about in half of what it would be on a ‘normal’ day. While we strongly believe that it is important educationally, developmentally and emotionally to be in school with their peers and teachers as much as possible, this is the only scenario at this time, which enables us to implement the social distancing to enable in person learning at this time.
Students will not be assigned via a lottery system. We are dividing each class in each grade level by the first letter of the alphabet to achieve the 50% split. When there are multiple children in school(s), every effort will be made to schedule the in person attendance on the same days.
We are unable to offer families the choice of cohort since we would not be able to fairly accommodate all requests and assure that we have the proper balance of numbers in each group. The cohort will remain the same until we move out of that phase and into another less restrictive or more restrictive model.
No switching of cohorts is permitted. Many factors go into the development of each class and as such, this will not be possible.
We are beginning the process of scheduling. It is our goal to notify families by mid-late August. Every effort will be made to keep families in the same cohort in Phase 2( either A or B).
We must continually re-evaluate the status of our school plan as it correlates with the health conditions and directive from the state government. Thus, we must prepare for various phases as we proceed through this school year.
It will depend on the class type ( e.g. students with disabilities in self contained programs may be fewer in number than in the general population). Typically, there will be 10-12 students in each regular education classroom. Desks will be spaced according to the 6’ guidelines and facing the same way to enable social distancing. Protective plexiglass personal protection shields will also be available for each student in the class.
Yes. State guidelines require all teachers and staff to wear masks at all times in schools. The current guidance is that students wear masks to the greatest extent possible, and are required when social distancing is not possible (e.g. passing in hallways, entering school, moving about in the classroom). Students should expect to be wearing masks with breaks built into the school day. Families are encouraged to begin helping their child/children to become accustomed to wearing masks for extended periods of time. More guidance will be provided with regard to students with specific medical needs or considerations.
No. A lunch period will not be provided. However, we are exploring providing ‘grab and go’ lunches for students to take home with them or to a child care setting upon leaving school. Students with significant disabilities, who are in self-contained classes, will be able to have a lunch break since they will remain beyond the early dismissal time.
We plan to minimize the movement of students between classrooms as well as any mixing of student groups as much as possible. Teachers rather than students will move for different subjects/specials, when possible. Lockers will not be used. Middle school students will maintain personal control over their belongings in their backpack.
Details will be part of our health and safety plan still under development and with the guidance of the local and state health departments. Many primary classrooms contain sinks and bathrooms which will encourage frequent handwashing.
All staff and students are required to complete a brief 6-7 item questionnaire by 7:30 am to ensure that the student or staff member has not exhibited any symptoms at home or been in contact with a symptomatic person(s). That data is instantly transmitted to the school where it is monitored. Upon arrival at school, the student will line up as designated, wearing a mask, and then go through a touchless infrared body temperature detector to verify that the child or staff member does not have a reading of 100’ or more. Symptomatic students or staff members will not be permitted entrance to their class and be respectfully escorted to an area where they will remain in isolation until the parent can pick up the student.
If you choose not to send your child/children to school, access to virtual instruction will be provided in a synchronous manner, with the class they would be in, if attending school, according to the same schedule that students are receiving who are in school. Further guidance from the NJ State Department of Education is expected this or next week.
We are in communication with the YMCA to ascertain what services may be available to our students on site from them. There will be no before care. More specific details will follow as they are provided to us.
While we are presenting the Little Silver plan for reopening ( using phases as described), we also must prepare for a complete remote Virtual Learning plan should changing health conditions warrant so. The NJ Departments of Education, Health and Governor’s office will be issuing specific directive to us should a complete return to remote Virtual Learning need to be instituted. Our teachers are continually preparing and developing their work in this regard. While we hope we will not need to use such a plan, we must be prepared in case in-person learning is not permitted at some point(s) this year.
Parent Survey Results
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