BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Despite challenges that face thousands of school districts nationwide due to the pandemic, Bloomfield administrators gave praise to board members, teachers, staff, and students for rising to the occasion during this difficult time.

“I hope all of your families are healthy and I hope you are all working together at social distancing to make sure we all get through this together,” said Bloomfield Schools Superintendent Sal Goncalves while addressing the Bengal community.  “It’s a Bloomfield tradition for us to come together when things are rough.”

Goncalves made his comments during the Superintendent’s Report at Tuesday evenings Board of Education meeting.

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“We are providing remote learning, providing breakfast and lunch to our needy population, and we are maintaining a central office open on Monday through Thursday to handle issues that can’t be handled remotely to meet local and state mandates,“ Goncalves stated.  “We are waiting to hear from the Governor as to if we are coming back before the end of the school year, with that announcement expected before May 15.”

Tuesday’s meeting was conducted in closed quarters at the School Administration Building with board members participating via videoconference.  Proceedings were livestreamed on the district Facebook page and WBMA-TV since the public session was closed due to social distancing mandates.

Board members Skyped into the meeting and were shown on a projection screen in the conference room with only the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent physically present.

“I know our Bengal family and community are going through a tough time, so on behalf of the Board of Education, we send our thoughts and prayers to the entire community and wish for better times ahead – we will come out the other side stronger,” said Board President Jill Fischman.  “Despite these challenging times, the board will move forward with our next meeting on May 5 with our master reappointment list for all our teachers, administrators and support staff.  We want to let them know that we appreciate all the work they are doing from home.”

New Jersey schools began virtual learning March 16.  The return date was moved from March 30, to April 30, to May 15.

As to when school might resume, the district has procedures in place for both return to classroom learning later this spring, and for at-home virtual learning through June.

“We have plans for both instances, whether it’s coming back and for not coming back this school year,” Goncalves said.  “We have plans in place as to how to bring back our workforce.  We are planning on how to measure academic performance when our students come back, planning remediation programs and installing social distancing preventive measures.”

Goncalves continued, “we are addressing mental health needs of our students, teachers and staff, and monitoring the adequacies of the sanitation in our buildings so that all our children and staff are healthy, happy and safe.”

With the remote learning plan going exceedingly well to this point, it is a testament to the school supervisors and principals.

“Whether we return later this spring, or in September, or whenever, we are making sure that when we do come back, our students hit the ground running,” said Assistant Superintendent Joseph Fleres.

The district is also trying to determine the cost of the impact this pandemic will have on school finances.

Among the schedule changes on the school calendar, the BHS senior prom has been rescheduled for July 15.

“We also give a special ‘thank you’ to three of our school nurses who have taken the time outside of their duties in Bloomfield to put themselves on the front lines assisting with the testing of COVID 19,” Fischman added.  “We salute them and thank them.”

A hearing of the public was requested ahead of the meeting via email, but no comments or questions were submitted to the board.

The next Bloomfield Board of Education Public Meeting takes place Tuesday, May 5 at the School Administration Building with a closed executive session at 5:00 pm followed by the livestreamed public meeting at 5:30 pm.