CRANFORD - The results of the survey issued last week to parents and guardians on plans to reopen Cranford Public Schools in September were released on Thursday by Superintendent Dr. Scott Rubin.

Survey Results

  • 2,689 participants completed the survey.

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  • 84.27% plan on sending their child to school for in-person instruction as outlined in Plan A (using current State guidelines of social distancing at six-feet)

  • 13.76% plan on having their child participate 100% virtually if Plan A is implemented

  • 79.29% plan on sending their child to school for in-person instruction as outlined in Plan B (should State guidelines be adjusted to social distancing at three-feet)

  • 18.82% plan on having their child participate 100% virtually if Plan B is implemented

  • 93.47% plan to send their child to school if all students were required to wear a face covering, regardless of social distancing (students would be provided with breaks). This number is based upon those who responded that they would send their child to school for in-person instruction as outlined in Plan A

  • 87.03% Would permit their child to wear a face shield as an alternative face covering to be used only when students are socially distanced six-feet or more while at their desk. This is based upon those who responded that they would send their child to school for in-person instruction as outlined in Plan A

According Dr. Rubin, in addition to the survey results, there were several themes which emerged through the request for feedback.

Survey Feedback

The following themes (numbered) emerged through feedback (The District’s current thinking is bullet-pointed):

1. There were many requests for all students to attend school every day. In particular, more in-person time was requested at the high school level, and there were questions as to why each day could not be longer.

  • Factoring in the number of students who have opted for virtual instruction, the District believes it can modify the high school model so that high school students could attend school every other day, in alignment with the middle school.  

2. The high school providing in-person instruction every other day may mitigate the question about elongating the single-session day, but here are some reasons to dismiss after a single-session at the high school:

  • Lunch will not be served.
  • It would be a long, possibly hot day, wearing a face covering.
  • High School students will be dismissed earlier than the elementary school students, and could therefore be available to assist with childcare needs.
  • During the afternoon hours, teachers will be providing additional support virtually for all students, including those who remain on virtual instruction.  There will be set times announced for this support.
  • Additional services, such as special education, interventions, enrichment, and ESL may be provided in the afternoon as needed. 

3. Will students be required to wear face coverings?

  • Students will be required to wear face coverings regardless of social distancing. Additionally, the District will purchase face shields for each student should they choose to wear one instead of a mask, but only when they are socially distanced six-feet and remain sitting at their desk. The District will provide face covering breaks throughout the day.

4. There were requests for a cohort model at the elementary school level, as well as questions about what those section sizes would be.

  • A follow-up survey was sent to elementary school parents (K-5) on July 21st.  27.57% of the 1099 respondents stated that, “If a cohort model was available, they would prefer their child to attend every other day in-person and participate through live-streaming on the other day (resulting in smaller class sizes).” The District is currently exploring whether it is possible to accommodate this preference while still accommodating the majority of respondents who want their child to come to school every day.

5. There were questions about whether individuals could move from virtual to in-person and vice versa.

  • The District would like to be flexible on this issue, but also needs to plan in advance for scheduling purposes and ensure we are abiding by social distancing requirements. Therefore, after the plan is shared with the community on or about July 31, parents/guardians will have about a week to decide whether they would like to attend school in-person or virtually.  Although parents can always change their mind to opt for virtual instruction, a requested move to in-person instruction will be honored and should be expected to be implemented on the following dates: November 12, January 27, April 13. Again, we will try to be flexible, but there are a lot of moving parts and we need to make sure we are monitoring section sizes, social distancing requirements, and creating smooth transitions. In addition, the Governor stated on Monday, July 20 that the State would be providing further guidance on virtual instruction. The District awaits this guidance and will provide an update on this matter in the near future.

6. Many participants stated that their choices on the survey may shift based on what the health circumstances are in September.

  • Keep in mind there may be additional guidance from the State that causes districts to shift plans. This continues to be an evolving situation and we all need to be prepared to pivot. We will continue to keep the community informed and appreciate your partnership.

7. There were requests for what an enhanced virtual instruction would look like, i.e. what would be the difference between virtual instruction that happened in the spring and what virtual instruction would look like in the fall.

  • The District plans to provide an updated plan to the community on or about July 31. However, here are some enhancements that you can expect to see with regard to virtual instruction:
  • It will take place within a four-hour block of time (single-session day). This does not mean your child will be watching the screen for four hours straight.  There will be a combination of whole group, small group, and independent exercises, just like when your child is in school.
  • Attendance will be mandatory.
  • Video will have to be turned on.
  • The teachers will use Google Classroom / Google Meet (Consistent platform throughout the District).  
  • The teacher will live stream the front of the classroom. No students will be seen, just the teacher and the actual instruction.

8. Observation: there were many varied opinions ranging from “schools should not open for in-person instruction (stay virtual)” to “students should attend school every day for a full day.” There were also many opinions on mask wearing.

  • It is important to note that not everyone may feel the same way about a particular topic or plan. It is important for everyone to be empathetic and value each individual’s ideas. The District will continue to work with the community in implementing the State mandated guidelines for reopening.

9. What are the procedures if someone tests positive for COVID-19, student or staff?

  • The District is currently working with the Township Health Department who is leading the efforts in developing the protocols. We will provide them to the community once they are developed.   

10. What will occur in the afternoon, virtual instruction?

  • Teachers will be providing assistance to students virtually in the afternoon to both students who were provided with in-person instruction, as well as providing support for those who remain on virtual instruction. More information on this topic will be provided on or about July 31.

11. What about air ventilation, especially when students are wearing masks?

  • The District will follow the State guidance, "Open windows if A/C is not provided and Filter(s) for A/C units must be maintained and changed according to manufacturer recommendations."

12. Coordination for before care and aftercare on the elementary level

  • A Township child care representative is on the Community Pandemic Response Committee and helping to coordinate efforts. The District has committed to provide space onsite for child care facilities who need space or have difficulty with coordinating transportation.

13. How are cohorts being decided? Will you take into account siblings? 

  • Cohorts are being determined alphabetically and will factor in siblings district-wide so that they attend in-person instruction on the same day.

14. The District received numerous comments indicating survey participants understand the challenges, complexities, and evolving nature of this matter and expressed appreciation for the hard work and partnership, as well as the opportunity to provide feedback.

  • We will get through this together!

The District will provide another update on the plans on or about July 31. You may continue to provide any feedback you would like to share as plans continue to develop.