I hope this letter finds you and your families well. I am writing to update you on our reopening plans. As many of you know, the New Jersey Department of Education released guidance. This publication has generated a number of questions among school districts, but it settles two issues:
- Schools in New Jersey will reopen for in-person instruction in the fall.
- All students will be required to wear a face covering when physical distancing of 6 feet is not possible (unless prohibited from doing so because of a medical condition).
Apart from the above, I want to share with you the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for
opening schools and ask that you please read them. I have long consulted the AAP for guidance on issues affecting students. Among their stated positions regarding the reopening of schools are the following:
- “All policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students
physically present in school.”
- The negative implications and consequences of not having students in school every day must be
weighed against the current evidence about how Covid-19 affects school-aged children.
- Schools should consider a physical distancing standard for pupils of 3 feet, with face coverings, as
feasible, which is the same standard set by the World Health Organization.
- The needs of students receiving special education programming demand the utmost priority and must be weighed alongside any virus mitigation measures.
The role of the Reopening Committee, consisting of members of our Board of Education, Franklin Lakes Education Association, Teachers, Parents, Nurses and the Administrative Team, is to gather information to generate a plan for the reopening of schools. Our core 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. In addition, our initial parent survey indicated that approximately 83% of parents intend to send their children to school in the Fall. Accompanying this letter is a more specific survey formulated from the work of our Reopening Committee. Prior to filling out the survey please note key highlights under consideration with respect to reopening in the fall.
- Classroom desks forward-facing and spaced 3 to 4 feet apart
- All desks provided four panel desk shields that are 21 inches high
- All students and staff provided protective masks
- Limiting student commingling and travel within school buildings
- Daily health screening questionnaires required for students/faculty
- Daily contactless temperature checks prior to entering the school building
- Phased-in hybrid approach with students attending school every day for a minimum session to
be continued with afternoon remote/virtual support including staggered drop-off and dismissal
- Providing before and after care options for parents
- Hiring additional personnel to disinfect high contact areas
- The addition of Odorox Air filters in each Nurse's office
- Electrostatic disinfectant sprayers in each building
- Providing every student with an electronic device
As the Committee continues our work, we ask that you take the time to fill out the accompanying survey (link below) no later than midnight on Monday, July 13, 2020. Our plan must be submitted to the Executive County Superintendent by July 27th, therefore we anticipate gathering the necessary data and sharing the plan in the very near future. Thank you for taking the time to read this update and for filling out the survey. Together we are stronger! What’s within us is stronger than what’s in our way!
Superintendent of Schools