NEWTON, NJ—The Newton School district has come out with a plan for the possibility of school closures due to the coronavirus.

The plan was reviewed by the Executive County Superintendent Rosalie Lamonte and has been posted on the Newton district website for the public to see.

As previously announced Newton schools will follow an early dismissal schedule both Friday, March 13 and Monday, March 16. This time will be used “to provide teaching staff the opportunity to plan for up to two weeks of guided learning experiences in case a health-related school closure should become necessary.”

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The plan states that each student will be provided 10-20 hours of guided learning experiences per week as designed by the teaching staff.

The “guided learning experiences” will be delivered on the first morning of a health-related school closure for the entire week and continue until school reopens. The expectations for each grade level are different.

  • Pre-K at Camp Auxilium and Kindergarten: students will bring home hard copies of guided learning experiences, textbooks, and other print materials identified by their teachers, if possible, prior to the closure.
  • First through Fourth Grade at Merriam: students will access the “experiences” in English Language Arts and Math remotely through i-Ready in addition to using currently available online resources identified by their teachers. For all other subjects, students will bring home hard copies.
  • Fifth through Eighth Grade at Halsted and ninth through twelfth at the high school: students will access the “experiences” remotely through Google Apps for Education in addition to using currently available online resources as identified by their teachers.

Students in Grade Pre-K to fourth will be asked to bring a survey home to their parents to provide information to assist the staff in providing appropriate resources, while students in fifth through 12 will take the survey in school.

For students whose families do not have a computer at home will be encouraged to use a district-provided device and for students whose families do not have internet access will bring home hard copies in addition to textbooks and other print materials.

Any student will special needs who cannot participate successfully in remote leaning will bring home hard copies in addition to textbooks and other print materials. If not possible, the district will arrange for those learning resources to be picked up or delivered home.

According to the plan, students who are on free or reduced-price meals will have five days of breakfast and lunch ready for pick-up or delivered home on the first day of school closure. Another five days of breakfast and lunch will be prepared and ready on the first day of any additional week of closure.

Student attendance will be based on participation in guided learning experiences and calls will be received by the usual procedure in the event that a student is ill or unable to participate on any given day.

Information will continue to be disseminated to families through SwiftK12 Alert system, district website, and social media (Facebook & Twitter).

According to the plan, “enhanced cleaning procedures include daily disinfection of all desks, tabletop surfaces and touch points such as door knobs, handles, handrails, sinks, faucets, toilets, urinals.  These procedures are used during normal cold and flu seasons and are effective preventive measures in the current situation. They will continue to be used during a health-related school closure.”

A health-related school closure should not be cause for alarm or speculation.  It should also not be cause for fear, stigma, or discrimination based on a population or nationality from a region that may be especially at risk for the disease.

Families are encouraged to contact the district office at 973-383-7392 if you have any questions or concerns.