HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The Hasbrouck Heights Board of Education held its regularly scheduled March meeting on the live streaming platform Periscope, in compliance with guidelines for social distancing during the COVID-19 health crisis.
At one point, upwards of 58 users signed on, including Board members and residents. The meeting got under way with Board president Al Baker leading attendees standing for The Pledge of Allegiance.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Helfant said in his report that "these are unprecedented and difficult times for all of us" and called on everyone to follow the recommended state and federal guidelines for safety. He "commended the teachers, staff and administrators for their quick work" in providing continuing education for students, saying "it's far from an ideal situation." He said he was "aware of parents' concerns about the learning process." He explained that the elementary students will be moving from Study Island to Google Classroom for daily lessons. He also acknowledged parents want more communications, and that the new platform should provide that. He acknowledged the technology department that works "round the clock, seven days a week," the custodial and grounds staff for the work deep cleaning the school and the food pick up personnel.
During the Open Public Hearing portion, six residents submitted questions through the platform's chat box, which still followed the protocol including name and address. Topics included:
* the lunch program (which is moving to a twice weekly pick up to decrease exposure);
* the possible need for summer classes in light of remote learning (schools wouldn't need to if they follow the plans submitted to the Department of Education);
* next year's middle school and Honors placements in light of no standardized testing (administrators are identifying ways to place students and will notify parents as to the changes);
* single day sessions with Google Classroom (elementary students should follow the single day schedule when teachers change platforms);
* updates to the football field/track (are on hold for now);
* better communications with teachers (teachers will speak with students daily through Google Classroom);
* will exams given virtually or sent home (Helfant couldn't address final exams at this time);
* recourse for students who can't complete assignments (Helfant said they would develop a way to work with students to complete work.)
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