Dear Mendham Borough School Community:
I hope you have had an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather and the outdoors. As I had stated in my previous communications we have been awaiting guidance from the Governor, the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Department of Health regarding the reopening of schools in the fall. This afternoon, the Governor introduced the State’s Reopening of Schools Plan during his daily press conference. Detailed written guidelines are expected, however I wish to provide you with an update on some of the proactive measures we have taken in anticipation of the recommendations.
Health and safety considerations, emotional well-being and connectedness, academic growth and equity are all important factors that will be considered in our plans for a safe return to school. A careful review of re-opening plans that have been developed by many states, and countries that have reopened schools, educational associations and health organizations have been pivotal in our approach.
The following list summarizes some of the tasks completed and currently in progress:
- Inventory of standard healthcare supplies (e.g., masks and gloves) has been conducted and a request for replenishment of supplies donated has been submitted. A needs assessment of additional supplies based on type of tasks performed in our schools is being conducted to streamline the ordering process.
- Classroom and facility configurations are being repurposed to allow for the physical distancing requirements established.
- Creation of daily schedules that would allow for smaller student cohorts and address student capacity challenges including staggered schedules and/or the “Bubble” strategy that minimizes student movement and is recommended by the CDC are being reviewed.
- Substantive and highly adaptive teaching and learning plans that include in-person learning with new safety requirements, a hybrid of in-person and remote learning, and the continuation of remote learning that would ensure continuity of learning throughout the school year, if circumstances require schools to close are being discussed.
- Purchase of additional devices expanding our 1:1 student/device ratio to include grades PK-2 this fall.
- Staff members have been appointed and are currently working on the review of priority instructional content in the areas of math and language arts for the 2020-21 school year.
- Staff have been appointed to serve on the Re-opening of Schools Committee to address the following areas: Wellness, Instruction, Governance, Facilities, Technology and School Operations.
- Increased sanitization and cleaning protocols are being reviewed and equipment and products that will assist in these additional measures have been ordered.
- Review of technology resources and educational platforms utilized during our remote learning to guide future implementation.
- Purposeful and regular communication with regional, county and state-wide district superintendents.
In order to guide some of the discussions that will be taking place, I will be requesting that our families complete a brief survey regarding our remote teaching and learning that took place this past spring and some questions related to the reopening of schools. The survey will be sent out early next week. I will continue to provide you with regular updates.
Wishing you a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Dr. Mitzi N. Morillo
Superintendent of Schools