SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Following Gov. Murphy's announcement that New Jersey’s schools will remain closed for the duration of the 2019-2020 school year, Scotch Plains-Fanwood SPFK12 District Superintendent Dr. Joan Mast wrote to parents of students in the district.

While we are disappointed that the end of our school year will look different than it has in years past, we recognize the significance of this announcement in keeping our students, families, teachers and staff healthy. At Home Learning has continued to evolve. Administrators and teachers are working together to make the learning experience as beneficial as possible to all our students. -- Dr. Joan Mast

Dr. Mast wrote that it is impossible to replicate the experience of being in a classroom at home and that the district is striving to provide each student with engaging materials, social interactions, and the opportunity to advance their learning.

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"We also recognize the importance of not overwhelming students and parents during this challenging time," Dr. Mast wrote. "It’s imperative that we keep communications open between home and school."

According to the superintendent, any future updates and new expectations regarding At-Home Learning will be communicated via the schools' principals. Additionally, Dr, Mast reported that administrators, teachers and the PTA have been planning how to adjust the format of some key end-of-year activities for students.

"Many of these seminal experiences will look very different virtually, but we intend to recreate as many of them as possible, such as Recognition Ceremonies and Graduation," Dr. Mast wrote. "We recognize this health crisis has disrupted the lives of our students and their families in many ways. We are continuously striving to provide resources to students and families to improve and support mental, emotional and physical wellness."

"The disruptions are hardest on students in 4th, 8th, and 12th grade students," Dr. Mast told TAPintoSPF. "The principals of the elementary and middle schools, and Dr. Heisey at the high school, are working on appropriate ways to celebrate the milestones of those students." (Students in those three grades will be moving on to different schools next year.)

The superintendent says that a letter from the district's counselors and mental health experts, outlining mental health resources, will be sent out district wide this week.

"We will continue to work together as an SPF community in supporting our students' success and educating resilient citizens of the world," Dr. Mast concluded.