MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair Public Schools will close starting Monday, March 16, district officials announced on Friday.
According to a letter sent to parents, all school buildings will be closed and remote learning will be implemented.
Interim Superintendent Nathan Parker wrote, "We will evaluate the need to open schools or remain closed, in approximately two weeks. However, please prepare as if school buildings will be closed through April 19. If circumstances indicate that we stay closed until spring break, schools will reopen on Monday, April 20."
On Thursday, when students were dismissed, they were asked to clean out their belongings from their lockers. There was also the first reported case of COVID-19 reported in Montclair on the same day.
School officials have expressed that they are taking precautions and will reassess whether to reopen after two weeks have passed.
A copy of the entire letter is below:
Dear Families/Caregivers and Staff
RE: COVID-19 Notification No. 6 and SCHOOL CLOSURE and REMOTE LEARNING
Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, all school buildings will be closed and remote learning will be implemented. We will evaluate the need to open schools or remain closed, in approximately two weeks. However, please prepare as if school buildings will be closed through April 19. If circumstances indicate that we stay closed until spring break, schools will reopen on Monday, April 20.
Here is what you can expect:
Instruction: Instruction will be provided via Google Classroom, other learning platforms, email, and some traditional paper/pencil activities. School Principals and teachers will communicate in more detail to students and guardians with specific information related to your children’s remote learning plan.
Contacting your Principal and/or Teachers: We are asking that you communicate with your principal and teachers by email during regular school hours. We are still working out best systems for two-way communication.
Attendance: Attendance will be taken. Your building principal will communicate the specific procedure for this important component.
Lunch for those who qualify: Food Service will be providing lunches for all qualifying students. The pick-up sites will be from 11:30 am to 1 pm at the following schools: Nishuane (back parking lot entrance), Hillside (parking lot entrance), and MHS (front doors at the circle). A non-perishable breakfast will be provided when lunch is picked up for the next day. Toni’s Kitchen will also be providing fresh groceries one day a week at each of these pick-up locations. More details to follow.
Events: All after-school and evening events are cancelled for the duration of the school closing period. All athletic and co-curricular activities are also suspended for the duration of our virtual learning period.
District Operations: While school buildings are closed for students and staff, the Principals and teachers will be available remotely during normal school hours. All Central Office departments will also be available remotely although some staff may continue on site at Central Office. However, we advise you not to visit Central Office as it will be closed to only those essential employees who need to be on site to carry out district operations. All communications should be sent by email.
Special Education: We plan to provide remote instruction and support.
Counseling Support remotely: Please see the attachment: Counseling Attachment
Student devices: The Technology Department is in the process of preparing devices for students (Chromebooks and Hotspots) as was identified in the survey responses. The pick-up location will be at Hillside School on the B side entrance (red door) on Monday between the hours of 9 am to 4 pm and 6 to 8 pm. More details will follow from the Technology Department on Monday. We sent, via Genesis, a Remote Learning Survey on Wednesday March 11. If you have NOT completed the survey, please do so ASAP so your children are assured access to remote learning.
We understand that this remote learning plan will cause significant impact on your family, our community, and our staff. Please know that we made this decision solely for the health and safety of everyone. While your children are not in the school buildings, please remember that social distancing is known to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, and we urge you to advise your children to continue this practice for the safety of your extended family and community.
The Montclair Public School District’s leadership team has worked hard to support building principals in preparing to transition to remote learning. Over the last several days, our principals have worked tirelessly to craft plans to support their teachers and meet students’ learning needs. Today, our teachers and staff also demonstrated their professionalism by working diligently to ensure continuity of instruction while students are at home.
More information will be emailed on a regular basis. We will continue to inform you with up-to-date details as they become available.
Dr. Nathan Parker
Interim Superintendent of Schools