ROSELLE PARK, NJ — The Roselle Park Board of Education's regularly scheduled business meeting became the first opportunity for the public to ask questions about the district's plan for school reopening.
As discussed in a letter from Superintendent Garrido sent to families on Tuesday morning announcing the “hybrid learning model”; each student can receive in-person instruction two days each week. The letter mentions the district's initial plans but was not a comprehensive account of the new instructional framework.
“Our main goal and priority is to address the health and safety of everyone,” said Garrido. He explained that all schools will close on Wednesday to be fully cleaned and sanitized before the next group of students begins their in-person instruction.
Prior to the public comments section the Superintendent moved to create a special board meeting on August 4 that would be dedicated to the presentation of the district’s reopening plan. The motion passed unanimously.
A main concern from the public was whether the decision to have children do all virtual or part-time in-person schooling would be permanent. Superintendent Garrido answered that the district has to wait on guidelines from the New Jersey Department of Education that are expected to be released by the end of the week. As of now approximately 20% of parents have responded to the survey opting to keep their children on full-time virtual learning, according to Garrido. However, the survey is still open.
When it comes to classroom safety, Board Secretary Michelle Calas noted that the district has ordered sufficient PPE for staff and every classroom will have hand sanitizer available. Secretary Calas also said that district officials will be doing walkthroughs of every classroom and the classes with poor ventilation will receive a HEPA filter.
To minimize unnecessary contact between students, lunch will be served in classrooms. Lunches will be prepackaged. As a result, the meals will likely be served cold but there will be some variety from which to choose. Lunches will be prepaid for to limit the need for cash transactions, she said. Superintendent Garrido added that students with allergies will be allowed to bring lunches from home that will be stored in a controlled area. At the middle and high school the use of lockers will be eliminated completely. Students will instead be allowed to carry their backpacks to allow for the least amount of movement as possible.
At this point the district does not have specific protocols for how to handle a student that begins presenting Coronavirus symptoms during the school day. However, Superintendent Garrido did explain that every school will have a dedicated COVID room separate from the nurse’s office. Sick students will wait there for their parents to pick them up. The COVID room is in accordance with guidelines set out by the N.J. Dept. of Education.