Board approved August 23, 2020:
n June 26, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) published “The Road Back – Restart and Recovery Plan for Education” (NJDOE Guidance), a Guidance document to assist New Jersey school districts to develop, in collaboration with community stakeholders, a Restart and Recovery Plan (Plan) to reopen schools in September 2020 that best fits the school district's local needs. The NJDOE Guidance presents information for New Jersey public school districts related to four key subject areas: Conditions for Learning; Leadership and Planning; Policy and Funding; and Continuity of Learning.
Throughout this reopening process, the Ewing Schools Reopening Plan has always been driven by the following key factors:
- The health and safety of our students and staff
- Continuity of high-quality instruction in any format for our students
- The needs and concerns of our community as expressed through our survey process
The Ewing Schools developed a Restart and Recovery Plan that was consistent with the requirements in the NJDOE Guidance with consideration to the school district’s local needs during this unprecedented time. That plan was approved by the Board of Education on July 27th and sent to the Department of Education.
On August 12th, Governor Murphy released Executive Order 175, giving schools the option to begin the school year with remote instruction.
Taking our motivating factors into consideration, and reflecting upon the flexibility now provided by the Governor and Department of Education, the Ewing Schools has decided to revise our Restart and Recovery.
This revised plan will enable the Ewing Schools to:
- Manage the challenging process of returning students during a public health crisis in as safe a way as possible.
- Evaluate the efficacy of our health practices and protocols as we return students to the school buildings.
- Provide the school district the flexibility to navigate potential problems and obstacles as students and staff return to school.
- Effectively build a robust and comprehensive hybrid program at the secondary level. The Department of Education’s decision to allow any student to choose fully remote learning created numerous program and staffing challenges at the middle and high school level.
- Address staffing concerns as we return to school. Over 125 staff members have requested accommodations with regard to returning to work during this public health crisis.
- Finalize other facility, logistical and operational issues as we reopen our schools to students.
As a result, the Board is asked to approve the following amendment to our Restart and Recovery Plan:
Appendix N Scheduling of Students
This school district should include in Appendix N the locally developed protocols addressing the anticipated minimum standards as required by the NJDOE Guidance and referenced in the Board’s Plan – Section B.3., including, but not limited to: a. School Day b. Educational Program
The first day of school for all district students, both those who have selected our Virtual Learning Program 2.0 and “in-school students” will be changed to Wednesday, September 9th.
Key Date Changes at a Glance
September 9th: Grades K-2/SE “in-school” students return/All others grades begin virtual studies
September 29th: Grades 3-5 “in-school” students return to school
October 12th: Fisher Middle School “in-school” students return/Blended Learning (A Day)
October 26th: Ewing High School “in-school” students return/Blended Learning (A Day)
Antheil, Lore and Parkway Elementary “In-School” Educational Programming Revisions
Before we begin, a quick look at our numbers for students returning to in-school instruction. Please keep in mind that these numbers may change a bit as we open school:
Lore: 184 students (K-2: 88/3-5: 96)
Parkway: 196 students (K-2: 73/3-5: 123)
Antheil: 345 students (K-2: 168/3-5: 177)
- Students in Grades PreK-2 will start in-person instruction on Wednesday, September 9th. Students in Grades 3-5 will start school virtually.
- Students in Grades 3-5 will begin in-person instruction on Tuesday, September 29th.
- All students will follow the Elementary School Early Dismissal Schedule to start the year (9:00AM-1:40PM).
- Free EDP/Child Care will be provided for students if needed from 1:40PM to 4:00PM. (preregistration required-please contact the school main office as soon as possible if needed)
- For students in Grades 3-5, we are working to provide a Free Virtual Learning Support/Child Care Center for in-school families with a child care hardship on school days from September 9th to September 25th. If needed, please contact your principal as soon as possible to register.
As stated in the earliest of our “Return to School” correspondences, our community survey revealed that elementary families expressed the most frustration with remote learning. Consequently, it was a priority to return our primary students to the classroom in as safe a way as possible. All other aspects of our approved and communicated elementary plan will remain in place, including the instructional pod/academic-enrichment cycle approach. Transportation will be provided, but again, we encourage parents to transport students if possible, although the “phase-in” approach should translate to decreased students on the bus. Lunch, as previously described, will be a part of the elementary schedule. The impetus behind starting the school year with the early dismissal schedule is that we heard from many parents who felt that the day was too long for the children considering some of the mask-wearing and social distancing mandates, in addition to other logistical concerns. Please note that free EDP/Child Care will be offered after the school day ends at 1:40PM. Regular EDP will begin at 4:00PM at a cost. Perhaps most importantly, this “phase-in” approach allows us the opportunity to implement our health, safety, cleaning and facility protocols with a smaller number of staff and students. As student and staff safety is our main priority, this approach gives us the opportunity to see if any changes or adjustments in our procedures are needed prior to expanding.
Fisher Middle School “In-School” Educational Programming Revisions
Before we begin, a quick look at our numbers for students returning to in-school instruction at FMS. Please keep in mind that these numbers may change a bit as we open school:
Grade 6: 124
Grade 7: 134
Grade 8: 136
This means that during a typical day of in-school learning at FMS with our hybrid/blended approach, approximately 200 students will be in the building.
All Fisher Middle School students will begin school remotely on September 9th, following an early dismissal schedule (8:25AM-12:55PM) with their assigned teachers virtually.
Fisher Middle School is scheduled to begin their in-person hybrid/blended (A/B Day) schedule with students returning to school on Monday, October 12th.
As stated previously, starting the school year virtually at the middle school level gives us more time to evaluate our planning and processes, evaluate the public health situation, and refine our operations and procedures. Furthermore, based upon the recently released Department of Health conditions for quarantining and closing school due to COVID-19 concerns, it seems quite possible that our schools may have to pivot to fully virtual at some point. Opening up remotely at the secondary level enables us to establish a high-quality virtual program that includes synchronous (student working directly with the class) and asynchronous (student working independent from the class) and is aligned with the traditional early dismissal school day. This would then help us in transitioning effectively to the hybrid schedule on October 12th. If we then have to move completely to virtual learning, the objective is for staff and students to be well-prepared, equipped and trained to make it as seamless and effective as possible.
Ewing High School “In-School” Educational Programming Revisions
Before we begin, a quick look at our numbers for students returning to in-school instruction at EHS. Please keep in mind that these numbers may change a bit as we open school:
Grade 9: 114
Grade 10: 133
Grade 11: 129
Grade 12: 136
This means that during a typical day of in-school learning with our hybrid/blended approach at EHS, approximately 250 students will be in the building.
All Ewing High School students will begin school remotely on Wednesday, September 9th, following an early dismissal schedule (7:45AM-12:15PM) with their assigned teachers virtually.
Ewing High School is scheduled to begin their in-person hybrid/blended A/B day-schedule with students returning to school on Monday, October 26th.
In addition to the advantageous reasons stated earlier, there were certain challenges to building our virtual and hybrid program at Ewing High School that make it logical to start the school year remotely. The high school student enrollment in our Virtual Learning Program and the “in-school” program ended up being pretty much a 50/50 split. Due to the complexity of a high school schedule, with many different teacher certifications, graduation requirements, honors classes, electives and singletons, our Virtual Learning Program 2.0 must be integrated with the “in-school” program, rather than a dedicated “stand-alone” VLP like we will have at the elementary and middle school level. This means some of our EHS teachers may have students in their class who will be returning to school, and others who will remain remote. Embracing this approach allows our teachers to build a robust, sustainable virtual curriculum, that can be delivered both digitally and in-person, and develop a connection with all students that will continue as students return to the classroom.
Special Education Instructional Programing/Innovative Programming Notes
All (K-5) Multiply Disabled and Autistic students in our elementary schools will begin September 9th in the early dismissal schedule. (afterschool care is available)
Full Day Preschool Disabled in-person program will follow a 9:30AM-1:00PM schedule (Antheil Only)
Half Day Preschool Disabled sessions will follow the traditional schedule (Parkway Only):
-AM session 9:15AM-11:45PM
-PM session 12:45PM-3:15PM
Fisher Middle School Life Skills/Autistic (4) students will return to school on September 9th following an early dismissal schedule.
Ewing High School Life Skills/Autistic students (12) will return to school on September 9th following an early dismissal schedule.
O’Brien Academy-Students (10) return on September 9th-Early Dismissal Schedule
EHS Endeavor Academy-Students (4) return on September 9th-Program Schedule