WEST ORANGE, NJ — Spring break came early for students in the West Orange Public Schools district; but on Monday and Tuesday, they'll get back to work—without leaving their homes.
While many districts in Essex County and around New Jersey shut school doors last week and commenced with "distance learning" practices in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, West Orange moved its "spring break" up from when it had originally been scheduled in April so that the district's faculty and administrators could have an extra week to get ready to provide classes remotely beginning on Monday.
Earlier this week, Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order mandating that New Jersey all public schools in New Jersey close to protect against the spread of COVID-19. By the time Murphy issued the order mid-week, most school districts had already closed their doors anyway.
"Over the past week, teams of teachers and staff have joined together, with remarkable purpose, innovation and perseverance, to create myriad remote learning opportunities," said Eveny de Mendez, West Orange assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in a release posted Thursday on the West Orange Board of Education website (woboe.org). "With pooled efforts, we expect to provide multiple levels of support in order for all of our students to continue learning and achieve good success. For the greater majority of our students, this learning will take place on the district’s newly created E-Learning Site.
"Through this site, students will be able to enter virtual classrooms, engage in interactive learning, accesssupporting resources, and complete related assignments. In addition to teachers, school counselors, reading specialists, interventionists and child study team members and related service providers will support student learning with a wide array of academic, social and emotional reinforcements."
For students in grades pre-K through Grade 5, an E-Learning Day will be at least 2 1/2 hours in length for students, including all disciplines. (See here for full details)
For students in grades 6-8, an E-Learning Day will be approximately three hours in length for students, including all disciplines, beginning Tuesday, March 24. (See here)
For students in grades 9-12, an E-Learning Day will be between 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 hours in length for students, including all disciplines, beginning Tuesday, March 24. (See here)
For all grade levels, students will be provided with instructions for how to access their Google Classrooms with daily lessons, activities, resources and assignments.
The district advised that Comcast launched a program earlier this week called Internet Essentials that provides low-cost Internet access to low-income families. In an effort to help people stay connected, Comcast is providing all new customers with two free months of Internet access, after which customers can either cancel the service or continue as a regular paying Internet Essentials customer. There is no shipping fee for equipment, term contract or credit check for this program.
For more information about the Comcast Internet Essentials, click on Comcast Internet Essentials .
There is no indication when schools throughout New Jersey might be allowed to open again.