If Glen Rock schools will have in-person instruction, classes should be held outside as much as possible to protect students and staff from COVID-19.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has identified utilizing outdoor spaces when possible as a High Priority Strategy to re-open schools safely. The New Jersey Department of Education also included this initiative in its June 2020 "The Road Back" guidance: "Allow outdoor classrooms where possible and when seasonally appropriate." These strategies are based in science as numerous studies suggest outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings.
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Many of our schools have enough space to conduct a variety of outdoor classes on their campuses. For schools with less outdoor space, the district should partner with the borough to utilize our incredible system of parks and fields. The state clearly expects this type of cooperation as it instructed school districts to include local parks when inventorying available outdoor spaces.
Re-opening schools safely and without increasing community spread is critical to the safety and well-being of all Glen Rockers. A fully remote learning option is the safest way to accomplish this goal and necessary to protect many Glen Rock children, families, and staff members. But for fall classes that will be held in-person, this summer is a wonderful opportunity to include outdoor time in lesson plans, make improvements to outdoor facilities, and work out the logistics of outdoor instruction. I hope Glen Rock will make it happen. Email addresses for the Superintendent and Board of Education: glenrockboe@glenrocknj.org and superintendent@glenrocknj.org