LIVINGSTON, NJ — In response to rumors being circulated about the Livingston Public Schools (LPS) district’s reopening plans for the fall, Superintendent Dr. Matthew Block released a statement on Tuesday assuring the community that the discussion is ongoing and no official plans have been secured.
“It's come to my attention that there are some rumors going around the community about our intentions for the fall,” he said. “I know that the rumors have to do with our desire to bring students back and whether or not that will be possible. I want reassure the community that no official decisions have been made [and] that we fully understand the benefits to having students back in school and socializing and being together and having some in-person instruction.”
Since receiving a 104-page document from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) last week entitled “The Road Back,” which provided guidelines for public schools to reopen in September, Block said LPS administrators “have taken a very detailed look at it and continued to have many discussions about its contents.”
Although the district “had intended to inform the community of our overall concept for how schools will reopen in the next week or so” in order to give parents and administrative committees “time to work out the details,” the superintendent reiterated that there is “a lot to go through, a lot to consider and a lot to think about for the planning for the fall.”
“I think the challenge for every school district is how to measure bringing kids back to the greatest extent possible while considering the safety and health factors that go into having everybody together,” he said. “So we're thinking about our students’ health and safety, our staff's health and safety, but at the same time working as hard as we can to come up with a plan that will bring our students back into school to the extent possible.”
Block also recognized that “a handful of other districts” have begun releasing detailed plans, but stated that LPS is determined to be “as complete, as thoughtful and as deliberative about [its] process in determining [the reopening] plan before communicating it to the community.”
“Nonetheless, we know people are anxious to know what we're going to do,” he said. “So, what I can tell you is that within the next week, I should be able to put out a communication to the community letting everybody know at least what our initial plan is and what our initial thoughts are for bringing our students back to school in the fall.
“I know that we all want what's best for kids, and we all know that having kids together in school is the best way to deliver education. We are going to do that the same way we did remote learning: with a passion, with an understanding and the Livingston team way, which is to ensure excellence and to ensure our students have the best educational experience possible…
“We understand that we want our kids back in school in the fall as much as possible, and we are looking at the safety and health factors.”
At this time, the superintendent is asking the community for “a little bit more time, a little bit more patience and to continue that partnership and that collaboration that defines the Livingston Public Schools.”