I hope this message finds you well.
It has been a challenging time for us all, but I also find that the social distancing rules we are following have allowed time to reflect on the many positive things often taken for granted. I am so appreciative of the entire school community who have come together quickly and efficiently and put a program in place that provides our students with a strong education. The students, the parents, the teachers, and the staff have all distinguished themselves by their talents, actions and attitude. I am appreciative of the work being done by our Board of Education, the Mayor and Council, and most importantly all of the people working in the health departments, hospitals, health facilities, doctors’ offices and serving as EMT, fire fighters, and police officers. They have been on the front line every day. I come to the office daily at Borough Hall and see the dedicated school employees, school custodians and maintenance, Borough DPW workers, members of various departments of the municipal government and the school system who are here each day to make sure that service are still provided and up-to-date and accurate information regarding the pandemic is understood, acted upon, and shared.
Thank you all. It is a privilege to be part of such a great community.
As you know, Spring Recess will begin on Friday, April 10. Classes will resume on April 20. Distance learning will continue, following the same schedule, while planning once again for a two week interval of online instruction. Governor Murphy had previously announced that he would not revisit a decision about school reopening until at least April 17; however, the federal government subsequently announced that social distancing rules would remain in effect until April 30. To be in compliance with the federal extension, we do not expect any change in the educational platform prior to April 30. As I have informed you at the start of the closure, reopening the school is not a local decision. Flexibility and preparation are paramount during his time. April 30 is not an end date. It is milepost for review.
Teachers, administrators and staff have been working to develop, revise and augment plans as we continue the journey through these hitherto unknown and ever changing waters. Additional use of video conferencing with classes and groups of students, the use of video and audio conferencing for related services, counseling sessions, and parent meetings, and finding creative ways to keep the artists, musicians, and athletes engaged have all been implemented, expanded, or planned. Although we are not certain of a return date, we are beginning discussions and planning regarding end of the year activities, ceremonies, and graduations in order to be ready when we return to the buildings or if there is continuation of the distance learning.
The business of education is also continuing. The Board of Education held a meeting via Zoom, and will continue to hold meetings in that manner until the moratorium on large group meetings is lifted. The administrative and supervisory teams, the faculty, academic departments and grade level teams, have all been meeting via video conferencing. Contracts were awarded for the facility projects at the Kindergarten Center, the Union School floor replacement, and the renovation of the science labs at the High School. Work on those projects, as well as the Lincoln School addition of two classrooms, are slated to begin in June. We have held meetings with architects, project managers, and the contractors via video conferencing.
I will continue to update you on District information. I know you are also receiving updates and messages from the principals and teachers. Please reach out to them or me if you have questions, concerns, or needs.
I hope you find time for relaxation and reflection over the break. If you are celebrating Passover or Easter, it will be a different celebration than in past years, but I wish you a happy holiday.
Stay well, stay #BulldogStrong, and stay together as the cohesive community we are.
Superintendent of Schools