Dear Eatontown Public Schools Community:
I would like to thank you for your patience and cooperation during these challenging and unprecedented times. As a parent of school-age children, I understand firsthand the circumstances this environment is creating for children, parents, families, and staff.
As Superintendent of Schools, I am writing to share with you a significant portion of the district’s reopening plan for September. Based upon input from various stakeholders and school community members, the district is ready to announce the in-person school schedule for the 2020-2021 school year. This schedule was developed based upon “The Road Back – Restart and Recovery Plan for Education” guidance created by the NJ Department of Education as well as the CDC guidelines. In the future, the in-person schedule may change based upon new data or circumstances. However, the goal is to provide time for parents and
families to begin planning as soon as possible.
In order to resume in-person instruction by implementing social distancing as well as community mitigation measures as directed by the Governor and NJ Department of Education guidelines, a cohort-based, hybrid schedule will be utilized. This schedule will divide students into two groups based upon the first letter of their last name. Every student will be assigned for in-person instruction two consecutive days per week. For the other three days per week, students will be assigned to remote instruction from home. The school year will begin using a daily one-session day or half-day schedule. Breakfast and lunch meals will be provided.
More specifically, students who participate in the schedule above will be placed in an appropriate classroom with their assigned teacher based upon on an A/B Day schedule. Students with last names beginning with A-L will be assigned to an A Day, and students with last names beginning with M-Z will be assigned to a B Day. Monday/Tuesday will be designated as A Days and Thursday/Friday will be designated as B Days. Wednesdays will be a remote learning day for all students. Some students based upon their educational needs may be attending their specialized programs four days per week. This A/B schedule will align with Monmouth Regional High School as well.
Please note that based upon the Governor’s guidance, parents do have the option to elect that their child participate in remote learning only. In this case, students will interact with their teacher and class through a virtual learning environment. Parents will have to notify the school by Friday, August 7, 2020 if they choose this option. A survey will be distributed in the near future.
Instruction and Classroom Organization: Remote learning will look a little different this year based upon state guidance and community input. Remote learning will include a better balance of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. Students will be expected to follow their school’s start and end times and/or assigned class meeting times. Each student will be assessed using the district’s grading policy.
In-person learning will look different as well. Desks will be positioned six feet apart as per CDC guidelines. Students will participate in a more traditional educational environment with desks arranged in rows. Students will not share learning materials. When weather allows, instruction and programs will occur outside as appropriate.
Face Coverings: Face coverings must be worn by all staff members at all times. In addition, students will be required to wear face coverings as well unless there is a documented IEP and/or health concern as per the NJ Department of Education guidelines. Students will be allowed to take face covering breaks at appropriate times during the day. Students will be required to arrive and depart from school wearing face coverings. Please begin to practice face covering wearing with your child now in order to help prepare for September. For the health and safety of the school community, face coverings are required.
Transportation: Transportation will be provided for the students who are eligible. Face coverings must be worn by the students on the school bus at all times. Face coverings also must be worn at the bus stop if social distancing of six feet or more is not possible. Parents will have the opportunity to waive requests for transportation. A survey will be distributed in the near future. The schools will prepare for more parents or caregivers to drop off and/or pick up students at the beginning and end of the school day.
Please know the district understands that these are not ideal plans, but these plans are a step toward a new normal. The plan accounts for the health and safety of both students and staff. It is in all of our best interests to make these plans work. After all, if COVID-19 begins to spread in our schools or community, the schools will need to be closed once again. Hopefully, these plans will give our district an opportunity to reopen schools and build upon our collective success. Maybe, just maybe, the district can open up to full-time, in-person learning in the future.
Thank you for your consideration and attention. Additional updates will be provided as we approach the opening of schools in September.
Scott T. McCue
Superintendent of Schools