On April 12, pre-K to grade 5 students and their teachers returned for in-person learning, kicking off the district’s long-awaited hybrid plan.
Montclair school administrators shared some photos taken during the triumphant return to class, including images of temperature checks at Nishuane School, one of several new policies aimed at preventing coronavirus infection.
There will be other changes coming in the near future, including the rollout of pooled COVID-19 testing, Superintendent Jonathan Ponds said in a letter to the school community on Friday.
“We celebrated our opening for in-person/hybrid this week, and I am happy to report that with the collaboration of the Montclair Education Association and all of our administrative team, custodians and support staff we had positive experiences throughout the PreK and Elementary Schools. Security staff and our secondary administrators were also at the buildings with words of encouragement and first-day greetings while ensuring appropriate PPE protocols and procedures were being followed. As the saying goes, pictures are worth a thousand words; please see our photo gallery. Our teachers have done an amazing job utilizing the technology. It was great to see our teachers and students back in the classrooms, engaged and making our buildings places of joy again.”
The superintendent offered several updates on coronavirus-related efforts throughout the district.
In-Person Learning for PreK-5 – As our plans for in-person instruction began well before the CDC changed its distancing guidelines, and we have just started getting our students back in school, we are taking time to assess our procedures and instruction. We will also be implementing pooled testing in the near future. This testing, combined with evaluating the in-person environment, will provide an opportunity to reevaluate the six-foot distance.
In-Person Learning for Middle Schools and High School – On Monday we will be announcing an in-person date for Middle Schools. Please note that my team and I are working with the secondary principals on all of their needs including preparations for moving up ceremonies and graduation at the High School.
Food Service – Please be advised that meals will be available on Mondays and Thursdays to any student who is attending in-person learning upon dismissal from the elementary schools. Additionally, parents/guardians can pick up meals on Mondays and Thursdays for one hour at any elementary school starting one hour after the elementary school dismissal time. For those parents/guardians who cannot pick up meals at an elementary school during the afternoon hours, please pick up meals at the high school on Mondays and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m.
Pupil Services – Pupil Services was very excited to have our students back in the buildings for in-person instruction. Each school was supported by our supervisory team for their initial arrival. We would like to thank all our support staff members for their hard work and preparation prior to students beginning in-person.
Transportation – With the first week of hybrid learning winding down and after receiving feedback, we are addressing some issues to ensure an improved experience going forward. Please be sure to monitor Genesis for updated bus assignments over the weekend.
Technology Office – Every PreK-5 school was outfitted with the appropriate technology prior to the start of school and our entire technology team did an amazing job supporting the schools throughout this first opening week. In addition, all technology requests placed by teachers, building principals and office personnel have been satisfied. Of course minor glitches occurred and most were handled with a technician assisting teachers with logging in/accessing programs/cameras/sound, just to name a few issues. The Technology Office is monitoring the work order system to address technology needs if/when issues arise in a most efficient manner.
Community – The MFEE is sponsoring a free COVID-19 Awareness Event for families, Saturday, April 17, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Bring the kids to the Montclair Community Pre-K Playground, 49 Orange Road, for supervised playground time and activities while adults engage in an interactive conversation about COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Renee Baskerville and MFEE Community Health Workers (CHW) will provide information and answer questions. CHWs will be able to register attendees to receive the vaccine at Mountainside Hospital. Pre-registration is requested.
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