MONTVILLE, NJ – Superintendent of Schools René Rovtar announced that the second quarter of instruction in schools may have more students in-building, but the day will not be lengthened, and students will not be in-person on Wednesdays.
Rovtar acknowledged that there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in Montville Township – 10 cases on Oct 7 – but said parents may opt to switch from their student learning all-remote to being in school part-time with the rest of the students in their group.
The current system is that approximately half of middle and high school students attend on Monday and Tuesday, the other half attend on Thursday and Friday, and the entire district stays home for remote learning on Wednesdays. All elementary students attend Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. All days are early dismissal. There are about 1,000 students attending school remotely, according to District Communications Director Susan Marinello. Because Rovtar does not know how many students will be switching from 100% remote learning to in-building, she said she does not know:
- If schools will be able to maintain 3 to 6 feet social distancing in all settings. “We do have desk shields at the elementary level and can arrange seating to ensure that all students are facing the same direction,” she clarified in an email to parents sent out Oct. 8.
- If it is possible that cohorts at the middle and high school might need to be revised. A student who was attending Mondays and Tuesdays might be changed to Thursdays and Fridays.
- If a student’s schedule might need to be changed in order to balance the numbers of students attending in-person.
At the elementary level, some staff members were reassigned to provide a second adult in some classrooms to help support the teachers with both in-person and full-time remote students, and those staff members will need to revert to their originally assigned positions as more students return to in-person learning, Rovtar said.
The second quarter of school starts on Monday, Nov. 16 for middle and high school students. Elementary schools work on a trimester basis, with the change to the second trimester on Dec. 10. Parents need to let their student’s building principal know if they wish their student to attend school in-building ten days before the start of the new period, Rovtar instructed.
“Since the plan was developed this summer, [it] is fluid and very much dependent on current circumstances,” Rovtar wrote in her email. “I am most grateful to all of the members of the Montville Township Public Schools community for all of your efforts in allowing us to successfully open all of our schools for in-person instruction. I am very pleased with what we have accomplished, particularly when I realize that there are a number of districts that have not yet started in-person instruction yet.”
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