I am writing to you today to discuss the impact 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on our nation, state, community, and schools. Due to the extensive media coverage of this illness, some adults in our community are afraid and/or anxious. Although I am concerned about this health issue, I am happy to report that our students are learning each day and staff are providing quality instruction on a daily basis. Maintaining school routines is important for our students.
Eatontown Public Schools is closely monitoring this situation. The district is in contact with the NJ Department of Education, Monmouth County Health Department, as well as other state and local agencies. The district and schools will maintain a “business as usual” approach unless circumstances or information changes. However, the Board of Education and Administration are working closely with Faculty and Staff to plan and prepare for changes in school routines and schedule if local conditions change creating serious health concerns for our school community. Similar to weather-related emergencies, the district reserves the right to close school if student or staff safety is in jeopardy. These emergency days need to be made-up at the end of the school year in order to meet the state 180-day requirement.
On March 5, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Education offered school districts limited guidance in terms of Requirements to Implement a Public Health-Related School Closure. “In the event a board of education is provided a written directive by either the NJ Department of Health or the health officer of the jurisdiction to institute a public health related closure, the board of education may utilize home instruction to provide instructional services to enrolled students. Any day in which students impacted by a public health-related closure have access to home instruction services provided consistent with this memo will count as a day in which the board of education has provided public school facilities toward its compliance with the 180-day requirement.” The Eatontown Public Schools team is working together to develop an educational plan for online as well as project-based learning in order to satisfy this guidance in the event long-term school closure is needed or required. More information will be forthcoming in the future regarding the specifics of this instructional plan.
Currently, in order to protect student health and safety, the schools are:
Utilizing procedures to ensure students and staff who become sick at school or arrive at school sick are sent home as soon as possible.
Preparing for the potential of school closure or dismissals or cancellation of school events depending upon changes in information, circumstances, or conditions.
Planning to offer meaningful instruction to students while they are home.
Implementing guidelines for flexible attendance and sick leave policies related to COVID-19.
Maintaining relationships with county and local public health officials.
Preventive measures the schools are taking in relation to COVID-19 are:
Reminding students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into their sleeve, not into their hands.
Reminding students to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Advising students to wash their hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Use alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Advising parents to please keep students home if sick, especially with a fever.
Custodians and cleaning crews are cleaning and disinfecting regularly touched surfaces and objects routinely.
In this current climate, the fear and anxiety surrounding COVID-19 can lead to stigmatizing, harassing, or bullying behaviors. The district is particularly mindful of the negative impact that the pervasive media coverage may have on its students. As a community, we need to work together to ensure our school environment is healthy as well as socially and emotionally secure for all students and staff.
Eatontown Public Schools will continue to monitor this fluid situation and provide updates as needed. Thank you for your attention, care, and cooperation.
In these trying times, please remember to:
Take care of yourself.
Take care of each other.
Take care of this place.
Scott T. McCue
Superintendent of Schools