We are in the process of finalizing our return to school plans in accordance with the State guidelines for schools to reopen. At this time, I want to provide you with a few updates to assist you in your planning. It is important to recognize from the outset that September will look different from any previous returns to school we have experienced. Although our wish is for all students and staff to return to the normal schedule and procedures, the guidelines we must follow necessitate significant changes in how we deliver education.
When will our community be made aware of the finalized plan?
You can expect to receive our final plan during the week of July 20. At that time, we will also post FAQs. Specific details will follow and plans are subject to change. At this time, we expect to use different models depending on the grade level with all elementary students attending an in-person, daily program, and our 6-12 grade students following an A/B day schedule with remote and in-person instruction. The logistics necessary to follow social distancing guidelines in our larger schools and the realization that we may need to transition to full-remote learning at some point, require that we maintain a remote component on the secondary level. Some of our special education students may follow a different program depending on their individual needs. More details to follow.
Is a full remote learning an option for my family?
Yes, we also plan to provide a full remote learning experience for those students who are unable to return to school. Our Fall remote learning program and schedule will combine the best elements of the current model with enhancements. Live remote instruction will take place in every class, every day, following a truncated schedule. Participation in all class sessions will be required for students; attendance will be taken. In addition to delivering academic instruction, live instruction will be essential to developing classroom culture and will ensure some sense of normalcy for students and staff. The goal is to replicate the classroom experience, so we may transition smoothly when we return to in-person learning. The remote learning plan will be used more widely in the event of a class/school-wide quarantine or mandated closure.
What safety protocols have we already put into place?
Specific details will follow; we have already developed student and staff screening protocols that exceed the CDC recommendations.
All students and staff will be required to wear masks when they ride the bus and when they are on school grounds (unless they are deemed medically unable to do so). PPE will be provided to all students and staff.
Our facilities will be cleaned using protocols that exceed CDC recommendations. Our custodial staff will use the most advanced electrostatic sprayers and ultraviolet disinfecting wands to clean our buildings.
Classrooms and hallways are being designed to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Hand sanitizer and cleaning products will be available in all classrooms.
Bus riders will be screened and socially distanced during their ride. Buses will be cleaned in between runs. Parents will be given the opportunity to waive out of district transportation and to transport their children to school by car or by other means. More details to follow.
How will the District share updates?
We have updated our district website and developed a companion app (available for Apple or android devices). Our district Return to School webpage will also contain pertinent information. This will be your go-to source for district information. If you enable notifications on the app, you will be notified whenever we post important district-wide notifications. We will continue to send information via email; however, our most recent data indicates that over 80% of people access district information on their phones/devices, so we will use the app and social media as much as possible.
Kindergarten welcome - Although this is a very unique time, it is important to recognize and celebrate our newest entrants to the Hopewell Valley school community. On Wednesday, July 22 @ 7:00 pm, we are holding a virtual welcome for our new families. An invitation will follow.
As we prepare for September, your continued flexibility is appreciated. We recognize the potential for a change in direction from the state or federal level; we will communicate any changes as soon as possible. I am confident that our excellent staff and committed students will make the most out of this unique situation and enjoy the high quality educational experiences for which Hopewell Valley is known. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Thomas A. Smith, Ed.D.
Superintendent of School