NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Both Board President Bernadette Cuccaro and Superintendent David Miceli addressed the school closings that were announced earlier on Thursday, March 12 at the Board of Education (BOE) meeting that same night.
Cuccaro thanked the district administration and the teaching staff “for proactively working on the pandemic preparedness plan and the online learning plan over the course of the past two weeks to ensure that New Providence was ready to roll out the online learning in the event that we need to close.” “The decision to close the schools is one that was weeks in the making. Our staff has been working diligently to get a plan in place that we feel works best for our students in this situation while satisfying the state mandate for distance learning. New Providence does not have any confirmed cases of the corona virus at this time, but research does suggest that the best time to close the schools is before it happens. Keeping our students, our teachers and our community safe is a top priority,” she stated. This morning when New Providence set our plan in action, we were the only community to make the hard decision to close our schools before we were told to do so. Since that time many other school districts have followed suit and some districts are still working on their plans, she added. “We will continue to monitor the situation as it continues to unfold. In the meantime, please stay safe and keep washing your hands,” she concluded.
“I just want also thank the board for their efforts in collaboration this morning,” Miceli said. He also commended the mayor, the borough council and Police Chief Anthony Buccelli who are supporting the district in this decision. “I want to especially thank the administrative team who have been extremely patient in the last few weeks working on every detail so that we could be prepared. I certainly want to thank all the teachers for their effort and time in preparing the lessons so that we can move forward in these endeavors. I appreciate everyone’s contribution to that end and I am looking forward to the success of this online learning program over the next few weeks. I am sure everything won’t be perfect, but we will do the very best we can to ensure that we can continue to provide our students with continued instruction and we will certainly continue communicating with the community on a weekly basis so that we’ll have an update as to our progress and whether we need to make modifications to our plan,” he stated.
A few attending parents expressed their support for the district’s decision to close the schools. One parent was concerned regarding the online learning experience for kindergarteners. Miceli acknowledged that the age group from kindergarten to fourth grade is the most challenging group for distance learning.
Miceli also noted that since the district met the criteria for providing distance learning, there will be no make-up days for the school closure.
The Borough Council had also discussed the impact of the Covid-19 virus in the community at large at its Monday, March 9 meeting. Council President Robert Robinson pointed out the all information regarding the virus will be posted on the borough’s website as soon as it is received.