SPARTA, NJ- Sparta schools will be closed on Monday, March 16 for students.  According to a letter from Superintendent Michael Rossi, on Friday the district staff will begin developing plans for “continuity of instruction” should the district have to close due to coronavirus.

The district already had an early dismissal scheduled for Friday, with professional development scheduled for teachers in the afternoon.  That professional development will now be devoted to preparation for distance learning.

Rossi said the closure on Monday is to allow that process to continue. 

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Additionally, all field trips scheduled through April 30 have been canceled, according to Rossi.  Specific information will be available through the trips’ advisors.

According to Newton School District Superintendent Kennedy Greene, all Sussex County Superintendents had the opportunity to meet on Monday, March 9 to discuss responses to the letter sent on March 5 by New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet. 

Rapollet advised districts to prepare for a potential closure of a minimum of 14 days, should health departments require that to happen.

Greene said the county meeting included information about protocols the Department of Health would use to close a school district.  They also discussed what should be included in the continuity of instruction plan.

Greene said once the district has their plan completed, it should be submitted to Executive County Superintendent  Rosalie Lamonte to be reviewed. 

“It is not an approval,” Greene said.  The review will make sure the plan includes all of the elements required to earn credit for the day, as part of the 180-day requirement.

Rossi’s letter to the families said the “custodial, maintenance and grounds staff continues to work towards enhanced sanitizing and cleaning of all areas and has significantly allocated more cleaning supplies towards this effort.”

He said Maschio’s Food Service will provide meals for student who are on Free and Reduced lunch.

"We trust that the expertise of our classroom instructors working cooperatively with our leadership team will ensure that our students are provided with equitable and effective learning experiences in the event of a district closure," Rossi said in his letter. "In that case, we will send out more specific information regarding instructional plans, home access to technology, and food services."

The next board of education meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 12 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Mohawk Avenue School.