CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Superintendent Michael LaSusa gave all Kindergarten through Eighth-Grade students high marks for adhering to safety rules in the first two weeks of in-person instruction through the Coronavirus pandemic.

LaSusa wanted parents to know how well students have cooperated through the first two weeks of in-person classes. He gave a special "shout out" to students at Monday night's Chatham Board of Education meeting held in the Chatham High auditorium.

"Our students have been phenomenal," LaSusa said. "I cannot even tell you the number of accolades and praise that I'm hearing from every single staff member, principal, teacher, counselor, paraprofessional, custodians, security folks. Everyone has been knocked down with the level of cooperation, respectfulness. Our students have just been amazing."

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In regard to wearing masks and social distancing, LaSusa had the highest praise for the students and said they were the reason the opening of school has been successful thus far.

"The students have been absolutely dynamite," he said. "If it weren't for them, it would have been hard to imagine the school in the current environment. The kids have been great."

LaSusa reported that "roughly 40 percent of districts in New Jersey" have not opened up yet this school year. He said that the 40 percent of districts serve the majority of students in New Jersey. "The majority of students have not yet set foot into a school building this school year."  

He also reported that no staff member had yet been hit with the virus, as five of the six schools in the district have been open for two weeks now. LaSusa admitted that a month ago, he wasn't sure "we were going open schools at all (see his remarks below)."

School enrollment for the current school year is 3,904, down 129 students from last year. LaSusa attributed the lower enrollment to the declining numbers in the lower grades ... LaSusa also announced that "Snow Days" are likely to become "Virtual Days" this winter, which will keep the district on pace to end school on schedule or a few days earlier.