SPARTA, NJ – Sparta public schools will be closed Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27 according to an announcement by Superintendent Michael Rossi.  According to the announcement “the decision was made in consultation with the Department of Health and Education.”

All events have been canceled, according to the announcement.

As of Friday, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Sussex County. 

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Sparta High School’s website said student’s personal items, athletic items and instructional materials can be picked up from the school on Monday from 9 until 11 a.m.  Students need to enter the building through the front, main office entrance.

The district’s Health Related Closure Preparedness plan has been reviewed by the Executive County Superintendent Rosalie Lamonte.  It lays out the framework on which the district will continue to deliver education and services to the students while home for the extended, health related closure.

The plan covers: Communication, Continuity of Operations, Home Instruction and Special Education Related Services.

The plan says the superintendent will “provide information blasts” to all families, the leadership team will communicate daily with Sussex County Health Department.  Families can expect information to come through Blackboard Alerts, the Sparta school district website, facebook, twitter. 

Staff members will be able to communicate through their district email during regularly scheduled school hours. Families without access to email can make notes on their students’ work for the teacher to review when they get back to school.

Parents will be surveyed to determine internet access and access to a device.  McQueeney said the last time the district was surveyed only one person said they did not have internet access.  The announcement letter sent by the district on Friday requested any family who did not have internet access or access to a device to complete the appropriate form using these links:

Grades PK-5:  STPS: ALP, MAS, & HMS Technology Access Assessment

Grades 6-12: STPS: SHS and SMS Technology Access Assessment

McQueeney said the district had “ordered a bunch of hotspots” for anyone who needs it.  He said those requests would go through the students’ principals.

All district students will receive instruction in every subject area including specials. 

All students will have access to the materials and resources they need.  They will be prepared by the teachers.  The instruction will be provided “via technology” as well as paper packets.  McQueeney said teachers will be using Google Classroom platform including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Hangouts and Google Classroom.

Instruction will be appropriate for all students; ESL/ELL, Special Education/504, At Risk, On Grade Level, Gifted and Talented.  Speech, occupational or physical therapies will be “made up” when school resumes.

All district staff members will continue to receive their paychecks on schedule.  The business office will be open. 

The superintendent will determine which staff members need to report to work.

Maschio’s Food Service will provide “bagged meals” for students who get free and reduced lunches.  The details will be posted to the district website.  Assistant Superintendent Patrick McQueeney said Maschio’s will be providing “five cold-sandwich box lunches” at a time for each student.

The next board of education meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 16 7:30 p.m. at the Mohawk Avenue School.  The preliminary budget is on the agenda.