SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Last night, the South Brunswick Board of Education held an online forum for Elementary School parents about the board’s plan to reopen the schools. Superintendent Scott Feder laid out some plans from the district’s pandemic response team and guidelines from the Department of Education. To view the entire forum, please click here.
Feder said the board’s goal is to have a finalized plan for school re-entry by the end of July or the beginning of August. This plan will be ‘final but fluid,’ as guidelines change, according to Feder.
The board is recommending that all staff and students are required to wear a mask if school returns in the fall. The board has purchased masks, sanitizers, plexiglass barriers, thermometers and PPE material for anyone in a school. There will also be a daily questionnaire to determine if a student or staff member is sick as well as temperature checks.
“I have never been a no tolerance kind of person, but this will be a no tolerance kind of thing,” Feder said, “the best way to protect our community is through these levels of restrictions.”
Social distancing will be maintained at all times, as the board is currently conducting a final capacity study to determine how many students can be in a classroom. Every building will have a designated isolation room for anyone who becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms during school hours, according to Feder.
As of now, schools will be operating on a half day schedule. This will either increase or decrease as the year goes on depending on state rules and guidelines. For those who do not feel comfortable sending their children to school, the board recommends parents to disenroll their child in the school, as the district is working to create an online academy for all homeschooled students.
The board is also looking into a “remote learning center” where children will have the chance to come into the school while still doing remote learning. This is for parents who still have to work but do not want their child to be in a crowded classroom, according to Feder.
A resident asked about how the school would react if a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 and was in a classroom with students. The board would immediately report this to the Department of Health and begin contact tracing those students, with a possibility of self-quarantining them for 14 day.
One parent, who has a child with asthma, asked how the schools would manage a student who cannot wear a mask for extended periods of time. The school would make designated break times for the child to not wear a mask in an isolated environment. Children with pre-existing conditions will not be excluded from the schools or discriminated against in any way, according to the board.
The wife of a teacher in the South Brunswick school district asked about the imbalance between the amount of kids registered for in person classes and the number of teachers who are willing to work on site. She also asked if the teachers would be regularly tested. The district is working to staff the schools the best they can, and there is currently no plan in place for COVID-19 testing in schools in the state’s guidelines. Feder emailed one of the assistant commissioners about testing and an answer is pending.