Superintendent outlines plan for safe reopening of Monroe schools in 2021-2022

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By MADELEINE MACCAR

Corresponding

The Monroe Township School District School Board met on June 16 at the Monroe Township High School, from where it also webcast the open general meeting.

At the start of the meeting, BOE President Michele Arminio explained the rationale and mandates determining how an in-person and virtual meeting is conducted, as she said members of the public were wondering why people couldn’t not call or submit virtual comments to the hybrid meeting.

“The Department of Community Affairs – this is a division of local government services – disseminated information on how we should behave during remote meetings,” she began, citing LFN 2020-21, which provided rules and guidelines for conducting open virtual meetings in a transparent manner. . “If people want to call, if people want to write, that’s fine with me, but the pragmatics and maybe the reality is that maybe we would go at 3 am to every meeting.”

Arminio added that the board will continue to discuss the policy with the school administration, saying the current measures “in no way attempt to prevent anyone from participating in our government,” but rather follow the procedures in place. previous person.

Next, Superintendent Dori Alvich recognized student council members Kayleigh Craver and Samaara Jain for their “dedicated service to the students and schools of Monroe Township.”

Among the winners of the evening were some retired district staff, who read resolutions in recognition of their years as dedicated members of the school community, as well as the promise they will all be missed.

Alvich then discussed the reopening plans required by New Jersey that the district is working on, in accordance with the U.S. Elementary and Secondary School Emergency and Relief Plan (ERP ESSER). Adopted in March 2021, the ARP ESSER aims to provide direct assistance not only to help reopen safely, but also to keep schools running safely while addressing the multifaceted impact of COVID on education. . Each of the school restart teams reviewed the plan, as did the district restart team.

“Every school in New Jersey that is currently receiving ARP ESSER funds… state by June 24,” she explained. “Part of the requirement of this plan is that we have to present it to the community, and the community has time to provide feedback to the school district.”

The Superintendent noted that the document is currently in its first draft and “we expect it to undergo several revisions over the summer as the guidelines are updated and now the urgency. pandemic is over, according to Governor Murphy, in the coming weeks. “

She also noted that this was an inherently brief outline, as each section was only allowed a description of no more than 1000 characters.

“[The state is] not expecting a full, in-depth plan, they just expect a quick snapshot for now, ”Alvich said.

The plans for maintaining health and safety included the first section, including “universal correct wearing of masks”.

According to Alvich, the district’s current plan is to continue to follow guidelines and decrees established by the state Department of Health, CDC, and Department of Education regarding where and when students and staff should wear. masks.

“If the masks are optional by decree, the district will make the masks optional … Students and staff who wish to continue to wear face coverings in all settings can do so,” she summed up, adding that people in classrooms without air conditioning can remove their masks. in the face of extreme heat.

District physical distancing guidelines will also be guided by proxy agencies, and individual allowances will be made on a case-by-case basis. Other elements of the health and safety section included: handwashing and hygiene at school; clean and maintain healthy buildings and ventilation systems; illness notification, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine, and readmission; immunization education; and welcoming students with disabilities.

In the second section of the plan, the district explained how it will ensure continuity of services. Alvich said that the district’s 2021-22 school year will herald a return to the pre-COVID one-day schedule for grades 1 to 12. Specific preschool, kindergarten and special education classes will also resume their usual school hours.

To identify students’ academic needs, assessments will be conducted during the fall of 2021. In addition, fourth graders through high school students will also respond to a survey regarding their social and emotional needs. The assessments were administered earlier in the pandemic and are being used to meet the needs of students, even when the weather changes, as part of the district’s efforts to provide personalized support and programs to meet those needs.

Alvich explained that each school will have social and emotional support teams available to them and placed in each of their buildings. Each team will monitor its dedicated school to adapt the available programming so that it provides services that best meet the needs of staff and students.

The reopening plan will be available on the district’s website, monroe.k12.nj.us, and will be shared with all school families on June 18.

The next BOE meeting will take place on July 21.

A recording of the meeting will be available at the neighborhood video library, monroetv.viebit.com


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