SPRINGFIELD, NJ — In an update to a story posted yesterday afternoon on TAPinto Springfield, Superintendent Michael Davino has announced that the district will now close starting this Tuesday in response t the threat of coronavirus.

"As I promised in my letter of March 13, 2020, I have remained in constant contact with the Township’s Public Health Officer as well as the New Jersey Department of Education," Davino said. "As a result of that continued consultation as well as the confirmation of COVID-19 cases in neighboring towns, I am hereby informing the community that I am closing the Springfield Public Schools effective Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 until further notice."

On March 17, Springfield Public Schools will begin their online learning environment. Davino said in his letter that teachers will remain available via email to assist students while schools are closed.

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As part of the process of closing, Davino announced that schools throughout the district will follow an early dismissal schedule on Monday, which he said will allow students and staff to prepare for a transition to online learning. He also noted it would give members of the Springfield Schools community a chance to retrieve materials they may need from school buildings during the extended shut down.

Following the early dismissal, the plan is for staff to use the remainder of Monday afternoon to collect all instructional materials they need to facilitate an online learning environment. As Davino explained in his letter, all materials will be delivered to students through OnCourse, although some students in lower grade levels would be receiving paper work. 

While schools are closed due to the threat of coronavirus, any meetings scheduled with the office of student support services (IEP, child study team, I&RS, etc.) will be conducted via conference call to the extent the can, but may have to be rescheduled.

Additionally, students eligible for the free/reduced lunch program will still be able to pick up breakfast and lunch, at the back of the cafeteria, located in the rear of Jonathan Dayton High School. Each school in the district has identified a list of those students eligible for the program.

Pickup time for the meals will be between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday during the school closure. Parents of eligible students may contact their building principal with any questions they may have regarding this program.

While the district will be closing schools, there are some aspects of the normal district procedure that will go on as scheduled.

"The Board of Education intends to continue its regular Public Meeting schedule, including its meetings scheduled for March 16 and March 30," Davino said. "Videos of Board meetings are available for viewing on the District’s website, generally the day after each meeting."

At the close of his letter, Davino noted that the situation surrounding coronavirus has been challenging, and that the board was both thankful and looking for two things from the community as this process continues.

"The Board of Education and I understand what a stressful time this is for all members of our community," Davino said. "We appreciate your patience as I have strived to ensure that our students and staff remain safe while also ensuring compliance with all state directives. As we move to our Online Learning Environment, we ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work through this unprecedented experience together."

Any and all updates to the school closing situation will reach the community via the district's SwiftK12 email system with any information regarding the reopening of schools sent out as it becomes available.