HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Acting Schools Supt. Dr. Lisa M. Antunes posted an update to students and parents on the school district website on how schools are coping with the COVID-19 virus.
The letter addresses curriculum, at-home learning, school lunches for those eligible, kindergarten registration, sanitization of buildings and other concerns.
Here is the text of Antunes' letter:
March 19, 2020
Happy First Day of Spring HTPS Community,
As we enter the final days of our first week of our Flexible Learning Plan, I would like to extend a huge shout out to ALL of our students, staff members, administrators, and parents! What an exciting and interesting week it has been! We’ve had video messages from teachers to students, students to teachers, administrators to students and parents, and administrators to each other! We’ve had dance parties, drop everything and read, read-alouds, piano performances, and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. We’ve conducted virtual meetings, consultations, and conference calls. . . lots and lots of conference calls.
Our teachers are thinking outside of the box, being creative, trying new things, and doing their best to keep students engaged and motivated. I believe that, together, we have managed to turn lemons into lemonade, so kudos to us! Please know that your positive messages help to keep the motivation high and the staff going strong.
I understand that everyone must be on information overload and I ask that you bear with us as we all work to strike a balance between too much and just enough. We want to be sure that parents understand exactly how to assist students. We also want to be sure that students have what is necessary to continue learning at home as we make the shift to this new, albeit temporary, paradigm for our learners.
There are some housekeeping items I want to share as we wrap up this week and begin thinking about the next. Firstly, the scheduled district-wide in-service day originally scheduled for tomorrow (Friday, March 20) is canceled and is a regular school day for students and staff. Secondly, kindergarten registration, originally scheduled to begin on Monday, March 23, and run through Friday, April 3, has been postponed. If you have not already done so, I would like to encourage parents to pre-register their child(ren). We will reach out when we are ready to invite you in to complete the registration process. Click here for information on registering your child(ren).
As we continue to take steps to sanitize our buildings and grounds and comply with social distancing recommendations, all school playground equipment will be unavailable until further notice.
In an effort to be more efficient and ease the burden for families with young children, there will be a slight adjustment to the nutritional services for those students eligible for breakfast and/or free/reduced lunch. Beginning Monday, March 23, the pick up location will be at the main entrance to the high school from 10 a.m. to noon. While children DO NOT have to accompany their parents, it is important to have their POS numbers readily available.
This is drive-up service only. As Sodexo is practicing the social distancing recommendations, they request that only one parent at a time walk up to the table and to wait until the person before them has gotten back into the car before the next hops out. Sodexo will be providing both breakfast and lunch daily to all eligible families during this timeframe.
Some have inquired about the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA). At this time, districts are awaiting guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). Once received, updates will be provided to the community as soon as possible.
By now I suspect everyone has heard that a Hillsborough resident has tested positive for COVID-19. Please click here for information:
As previously stated, it remains important to reiterate the following information:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Do not forget between your fingers and under your nails. Use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
Prevent the spread of germs by covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Frequently and routinely clean and disinfect objects, including door knobs and cell phones.
Stay home if you are ill or exhibiting respiratory systems.
Additionally, as COVID-19 grows in our community, please be sure to practice social distancing as recommended. This includes avoiding crowds, staying home when ill, and maintaining a six (6) foot distance between others. It is more important than ever (and likely easier to avoid as recreational businesses are closing) to eliminate social situations, including playdates, sleepovers, and visiting with friends. Everyone is encouraged to spend time outside, however, it remains important to maintain at least six (6) feet between you and others outside of your family.
Communities are truly microcosms of society and, as such, we are being faced with very complex challenges. At the moment, everything is unpredictable, and we are not in control of our daily lives. I find that it helps if we continue to focus on exactly how to thrive during such uncertain times. I find myself coming up with ways to do so with my own family and there are many resources out there to help. Take a moment to peruse the following websites:
Do not hesitate to reach out to teachers, building administrators, or district administrators with any questions, comments, or suggestions. While the emails have grown exponentially, please be patient and someone will get back to you.
Be safe and stay well,
Lisa M. Antunes, Ed.D.