ELIZABETH, NJ - During Monday’s special meeting of the Elizabeth Board of Education the district announced their plans to reopen schools this September.
The district collected surveys from parents and staff and used that data to formulate the final plan.
“59% percent of our parents stated no, they would not send their children to school in September,” said Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer. “41% stated that they would send their children to school.”
Similarly, Hugelmeyer reported that the majority of parents whose children receive transportation from the district said they would not use the busses this fall.
The teacher survey indicated that teachers were most concerned about their ability to stay healthy and safety while doing their jobs. In accordance with the CDC regulations the district will be accepting requests from teachers for full-time virtual learning, requests will be tiered by teachers with a medical need or teachers with a family member that has a medical need.
Superintendent Hugelmeyer recommended to the board that on September 11, Elizabeth public schools begin Phase I of the reopening plan, full remote learning. Then at the end of the first marking period district will evaluate based on safety and health conditions whether they will enter into Phase II, an in person hybrid learning model for families who choose. The superintendent cited multiple incidents of COVID-19 spreading among day campers and counselors and student athletes who had begun practicing again.
To make sure that students are receiving a proper education from all virtual instruction teachers will conduct diagnostic measurements at the beginning of the school year that will serve as a baseline to follow a students progress throughout the year.
To make sure all students can learn virtually, anyone in grades pre-K-12 can have access to a device. Any family who does not have internet, can access a package at no cost through the district's partnership with Altice.
The superintendent also laid out some guidelines for how virtual learning should be conducted.
Including making sure the attendance is taken regularly and that students have the opportunity to work in small groups.
Parents of students who are English language learners will have the option to send their child for in person learning at three centralized locations with transportation provided. Schedules for those in person sessions will be created once the district knows how many students will be opting in. Students in grades 3-12 will have hour long sessions and students in grades pre-K-2 will have 45 minute sessions.
The full reopening plan is available on the Elizabeth Public School’s website.