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Update on Schedule Changes for 2nd Marking Period

November 17, 2020

Dear Parents, Staff and Students,

I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on the status of our school district as we all deal with the challenges from the COVID pandemic situation. At this time, while we have reported a few positive cases of COVID, these cases were a result of situations that occurred outside of school.  On a positive note, due to the many safeguards we have put in place, there has been no indication of any positive cases initiating or spreading in the district.  Again, I attribute this to the safety precautions we have put in place but also the biggest reason is the cooperation of the students, staff and parents working with masks, social distancing, following health recommendations such as hand washing, completing health questionnaires each day and students remaining home when there is any indication of illness.  

Unfortunately, the number of positive cases have increased significantly throughout the state and Ocean County. For that reason it is imperative that we all maintain our safeguards  and continue to practice the safety and health practices and maintain our current situation to ensure that our district and our staff and students are not negatively impacted. Therefore, our plan to transition to a five day schedule will not take place immediately.

I want to thank the parents for completing the recent survey that indicated their preference for their child’s schedule with the options being either five day, four day, hybrid or remote only.  At this time, our  priority is to approve parent requests for students who are currently on remote-only learning to return to in-person instruction in all grades, Pre-K to grade 12, on a hybrid schedule.  This will allow us to continue to ensure the proper social distancing.  Each school will be contacting these parents personally, beginning Tuesday, November 17, to advise them of the revised schedule and transportation specifics. The return date for remote-only students to return to some in-person instruction will be November 30, the first day of school after the Thanksgiving holiday.  Any parent who had requested their child move from remote-only to in-person instruction on the survey and has not been contacted by the school by Friday, November 20, should call the school office. 

As a district, we will continue to monitor our current safety precautions and any updates from the Governor's office and the Department of Education to make any changes necessary.  Due to the increases in positive cases throughout schools in the county and with the upcoming school breaks, it is not the safest or optimal time to bring all of our students back for a five day schedule of in-person instruction. However this remains our ultimate goal and we will continue to prepare for this schedule by increasing our safety protocols and having discussions with the Ocean County Board of Health.  While we all know the importance of returning students to in-person instruction, that decision must always be based on the health and safety of our staff and students. This is a very fluid situation and it can change at any time and our district will continue to plan and be prepared for an eventual transition to a four or five day schedule.  Unfortunately, we do not have a specific time for this to occur. I understand the frustration that we are all experiencing and I want to thank you for your cooperation and understanding as  we continue to make decisions based on the health and safety of our students and staff.  Hopefully the situation will improve and we will be able to move forward and transition back to a five day schedule in the near future.  

On a separate note, I want to notify all of our parents and staff that Wednesday, November 25 is a regularly scheduled shortened day.  Therefore, there will be no afternoon Kindergarten or afternoon preschool.  Please refer to our webpage for individual school hours.   

I would like to wish all of our families and our staff a very healthy and restful Thanksgiving. Regardless of our current situation, we can all be thankful for our friends and family and although we may not be able to spend some in-person time this holiday, it is still so important to reach out to family members during the Thanksgiving holiday.  

Again, I certainly am thankful for our staff and families, and I can’t thank you all enough for  continuing to be positive, professional and productive during this very difficult time.  

Respectfully,
David Trethaway
Superintendent of Schools