SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- According to a survey sent to parents on October 8, 2020, 75% of the 3,094 families in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood SPFK12 school district that responded to the district's questionnaire chose hybrid learning, while 25% opted for virtual learning. 

The results were reported in a letter sent by superintendent Dr. Joan Mast to parents of students in the school district.

"Each one of us in the district is focused on supporting a successful transition from our mostly virtual learning model to the hybrid model previously described," Dr. Mast wrote. "Through this transition, the health and safety of our students and staff will continue to be a central focus."

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Dr. Mast also reported that the district has completed a district-wide ventilation assessment. In response to the recommendations, there have been both short-term remediations and areas identified for long-range facility upgrades.

"Our maintenance department has been focused on accomplishing the needed short-term repairs to maximize the safety measures intended for the return of our students to their schools. These repairs are ensuring an increase in the amount of outdoor air brought into buildings and are designed to reduce the amount of pathogens in the air and minimize recirculated air," Dr. Mast wrote.  

Additionally, air purification units have been set up in locations that do not have windows, and schools will open windows in classrooms whenever possible to introduces more fresh air into the buildings. 

"Because we are now confident that the air circulation is improved, we are ready to phase-back our students to in-person learning by implementing the hybrid model which was outlined in our District Restart Plan," Dr. Mast wrote.

The plan's hybrid model reduces the number of students and teachers in the classrooms and shared-spaces, thus allowing for social distancing to the maximum extent possible.The district has welcomed back our Pre-K students will continue to bring back students in the coming weeks:

• K-1 st grade will begin hybrid instruction on Oct. 26.
• 2nd – 5th grade will begin hybrid instruction on Nov. 9.
• 6th – 12th grade will begin hybrid instruction on Nov. 16.

 As we move forward, we all share a deep commitment to supporting our students and staff in a successful return to in-person learning. We will continue to monitor all available data from the NJ Department of Health with guidance from the state to fully open schools in the future. We also recognize that there are possibilities of mandated school closures in the event of positive COVID cases.

Any changes in our models will be made in consultation with our nursing staff and the NJ Department of Health. Here are some ways we need your help in supporting your child’s return.

First, because we are introducing fresh air into our classrooms, the environment can be cool. Please have your child dress accordingly. Next, emphasize the importance of mask compliance, 6 feet social distancing, and hand washing. Also, reinforce how these behaviors are to be maintained both in and out of school. You will be receiving specific communications from your building principal regarding the protocols in your child’s school.

— Dr. Joan Mast

Dr. Mast explained that families that choose to remain on the virtual model will have the opportunity to switch to hybrid at the following times:

• Elementary: Dec. 11th (end of trimester)
• Middle School and High School: Dec. 16th (Marking Period 2 progress reports)

"These are challenging times, but we will keep moving forward together," Dr. Mast concluded.

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