HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Parents will be looking for answers as to what the upcoming school year will look like at Monday's meeting with Hasbrouck Heights Superintendent Dr. Matthew Helfant.
District Parents received an invitation to a meeting with Helfant on Thursday, July 9. Parents needed to RSVP to the Monday, July 13 meeting. Parents will be grouped by grades, K and 1, Second and Third, etc., and runs from 9am through 3pm. The group meetings are scheduled for Kiefer Auditorium. Due to the response and mandatory social distancing needs, overflow attendees will go to the Media Center and a third location in the building.
Parents also received a Community Survey- Reopening September 2020. Questions included whether the parent(s) will send their child(ren) back in the fall, their experience with the online learning, masks and PPE, technology in the home, among others.
In his weekly email update, Helfant announced that the district was establishing three committees to prepare for re-opening, Scheduling and Instruction, Health and Safety, and Policy. He said committees would consist of administrators, teachers, parents, and Board of Education members. He also announced the district was looking at a hybrid school schedule, part remote, part in school learning.
The update, survey, and meeting announcement stirred a lot of comments on the Facebook Hasbrouck Heights Moms and Dads page. Parents questioned the hybrid model, learning loss, the need for aftercare for working parents, the challenges for students IEPs, among other concerns.
Resident Antonette Vignola knows what she wants to hear at Monday's meeting.
"We want to know what protocol is the district taking about opening up the school in September," she said. "If a teacher, admin, students get the COVID-19, how are they going to handle this situation?"
She said her son, who will be a junior, will be going back in the fall.
"He didn't learn anything from the virtual learning he needs to be in class with the teachers," she said.
Elementary school parents also have concerns.
"If we can go back to school, why not full days?" asked Theodora Patusco, who has two children in elementary school. "Half days are hard for working parents. How much virtual will be mixed with in person schooling. What additional sanitary products will be available for kids to use like hand sanitizer? How often will desks, railings etc be sanitized."
Corinne Ponte, who can't make the meeting because of work, knows what she wants to hear about the upcoming year.
"I just hoping for more face-to-face time then distance learning. My son did not do well with the distance learning at all, and I am concerned about him falling behind," she said, who also have two children in elementary school. "Also waiting to hear what the plan is, so I can coordinate my schedule to accommodate if necessary. My household has two working parents so if this does end up being some type of hybrid schedule, I'll have to figure out how to make that work for us somehow. Unfortunately there's nothing that says our jobs have to accommodate us if that's the case so at this point just hoping for the best."
"It's a tough situation and I think parents are looking for some perfect solution and I don't think there is one unfortunately," said Ponte.
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