WAYNE, NJ – The Wayne Public School District unveiled their proposed Phase One Return to School Plan for the 2020-2021 school year at Thursday evening’s Board of Education meeting.
Concerned parents flocked to the online virtual BOE meeting, which maxed out with 1,000 participants listening in on Zoom.
The proposed plan could change, according to Superintendent, Dr. Mark Toback, who pointed out that the plan could be modified if conditions change.
Should the proposal pass, the new plan would be effective from September 8 through November 25, 2020.
With the safety of students and staff as the top priority, the Wayne School District has created the plan with guidance and requirements from the CDC, NJDOE, Department of Health guidance and requirements.
To limit the number of students, the plan is to divide every class into cohort groups. For elementary and middle school classes, the students will be broken up into two cohort groups (A & B) while in high school, classes will be divided into three cohort groups (A, B & C).
Cohort groups will help in several areas. One is to increase social distancing, reduce traffic in hallways and reduce bus ridership. The other reason is to help with contact tracing and quarantine if one student in a group tests positive for COVID-19. This would also help keep the schools open if ‘only’ one group can be quarantined.
The proposed elementary school schedule would mean Group A will go to school on Monday and Tuesday and stay home for virtual/distance learning on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Group B will stay home for virtual/distance learning on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and go to school on Thursday and Friday.
Wednesdays will be designated as ‘Wellness Wednesdays,’ and all students will stay home to allow deep cleaning of buses and schools. It will also allow for clubs to meet and set days for virtual assemblies and virtual field trips which may include all cohort groups.
- Masks are required by all students and staff, unless health
- Symptom screening before kids get on busses and before anyone enters a school.
- Flexibility – Parents may decide to keep kids at home full time.
- Grab & Go Lunch Model – No centralized lunch.
- More structured recess/Playgrounds restricted
Distance Learning 2.0 model will include:
- Enhanced process for keeping students, teachers, classmates connected
- New daily and weekly schedules for routine and accountability
- New assessment and grading practices for each grade level
- Synchronous learning opportunities for high school students
- Improved technology
- New health and wellness initiatives for students and parents
- Ongoing staff development in remote instruction
There is a proposed parent workshop to train parents to support their children’s virtual education.
The plan touched on childcare for parents who have to work full time which included:
- Expanded before and after care programs
- Partnerships with Boys & Girls Club (capacity for 110 students) and YMCA (capacity for 120 students)
Dr. Toback mentioned that the KWrap program will be difficult to continue due to additional special needs classrooms. This is under review.
The Superintendent also admitted that while there is a cost involved for some of these programs, but there are options. The district will make every effort to keep costs to a minimum for our programs.
Technology upgrades were also a part of this proposed plan. This will include upgrades to student and staff laptops and Chromebooks as well as a pilot for a program called Swivl which would record live lessons in classrooms and then shared to cohort groups at home.
In the next couple of weeks, the school district will survey parents and provide a thought exchange to get feedback. This public input will help to shape the final plan that will be voted on by the Board of Education in early August.