SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - All South Plainfield Schools will operate on an early dismissal schedule this Friday, March 13 to enable teachers and administrators to plan for any potential closures due to a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The district's seven buildings will follow the standard early dismissal schedule (http://spboe.org/for_parents/time_schedules); the after care program will remain open until 6 p.m. for those students registered.

According to Superintendent Dr. Noreen Lishak, in the event South Plainfield Schools are directed to close, the district will enact interactive learning through the Google Classroom and Google Meet platforms in addition to other licensed online learning tools. This Friday's early dismissal, said Lishak in a March 9 email to parents and guardians, will provide faculty and staff the ‘time to design online student learning that includes project-based assignments and collaborative lessons aligned to the rigorous New Jersey Student Learning Standards to proactively prepare for a possible closure.’

Last week, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) required all districts in the Garden Stare to update and submit for review a ‘Pandemic Influenza Management Plan’ that includes possible school closures due to COVID-19; under the plan, should South Plainfield be forced to close, home instruction days will count toward the state mandated 180-day school year and will not be required to be made up over the summer. 

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“The South Plainfield School District plan has been updated and forwarded to the NJDOE for review,” stated Lishak, noting that ‘District Policy 8451 (Control of Communicable Disease) provides guidance and compliance measures so that all district decisions and actions are in line with New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and Middlesex County Board of Health directives and regulations.’

On March 9, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, in an effort to ramp up the state’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency, effective immediately (https://www.tapinto.net/towns/south-plainfield/articles/governor-murphy-declares-state-of-emergency-in-fight-against-coronavirus-a3bded1e-5f9f-42c1-8c4a-9b61696453fa).

“The State of New Jersey is committed to deploying every available resource, across all levels of government, to help respond to the spread of COVID-19 and keep our residents informed,” Murphy stated. “My administration will continue to work closely with our federal partners to ensure that local health agencies on the front lines of the state’s response are equipped with the resources needed to further prepare our healthcare system for a broader spread of COVID-19.”

Although there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Plainfield…Lishak, in an email sent March 2, stated that the school district has been taking additional measures to disinfect and clean school facilities; last week, age-appropriate information on how to reduce the spread of germs was provided by nursing staff during the school day. 

The district, noted the superintendent, is also working in conjunction with the state, county, and local health officials and ‘will inform the school community of any identified cases of coronavirus should one be identified in our school district.’

“We intend to closely monitor the situation and make any decision regarding school closures in partnership with the Middlesex County Board of Health, the South Plainfield Health Officer, and the Office of Emergency Management,” she said. 

Updates on the coronavirus along with information in preventing the spread of the disease, will also be posted on the district website, www.spboe.org. If your child needs to be supplied a district device,  log into the Genesis Parent Portal to sign the 'Device Usage Agreement.'

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