Madison Board of Education Gives Updates on Next Phase of Schools Reopening | #Education

MADISON, NJ – During the September 22nd meeting for the Madison Board of Education,updates were given on the advancement to the second phase of borough schools reopening.

The Phase 1 of the Madison schools reopening, starting in early September, involved students attending classes on alternating days/weeks with early dismissals for in-person days. School days were shortened to reduce the health risks provided by lunch periods and to allow more time for building cleanings, planning and student support. Furthermore, remote accommodations would be made for vulnerable students.

Phase 2 will see all Madison students attending classes every day, while Phase 3 will see students attending every day, for a full school day. Phase 2 is expected to occur sometime in October, according to the board.

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“The important thing to remember about Phase 2 is that it actually reduces the amount of space between our kids,” said Board President Heather Reddy. “Yes, we will still be wearing masks. Yes, we still be making sure that there is space between the kids as they line up. But we cannot guarantee six feet. We have different cohorts and different days, and so the exposure is more limited. And on multiple levels, when we bring everyone back, the masks will mitigate the effect, but the reality is that if cases pick up, it’s because kids are closer together. So, everyone needs to be more vigilant.”

Superintendent Mark Schwarz later gave more updates on Phase 2, saying that the school district is trying to bring back kindergarten and first grade early. Yet, this task is predicated on the availability of some desk shields, which were ordered over the summer but fallen on back order.

“When that first round of desk shields comes in, we may be able to move forward with kindergarten, but I do have to share that we will not have sufficient shields for kindergarten and first grade,” said Superintendent Schwarz. “Phase 2 should be around the corner and I know anyone who has younger students, but I want to assure everyone that we certainly understand the importance of getting our youngest students back.”

More updates will follow in upcoming meetings and posted on the school district website. The next regular board meeting will on October 13th. The board shall discuss whether this session can be open to the public.

Later in the meeting, the board approved a resolution that expresses its sincere appreciation and gratitude to all Madison school staff members who contributed to the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 year.

“Thank you to everyone,” said Board President Reddy. “The motion that we are passing tonight will hopefully express our thanks in a memorialized way.”


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