N.J. school districts are in for at least another month of remote learning. Gov. Phil Murphy announced yesterday that schools will remain closed through at least May 15.
During this closure period superintendents throughout the area have been releasing regular updates to the community on district websites, social media, email and newsletters.
The news has compiled messages from superintendents that have recently been sent out and printed them below.
Bordentown Regional School District
Schools are on spring break this week. Superintendent Edward Forsthoffer issued the following on April 16:
I hope you are making the most of your spring break and are thinking up creative ways to relax and rejuvenate during this brief vacation.
I am writing to inform you that schools will continue with virtual learning when we return to classes next week. Governor Murphy announced earlier today that all school buildings in New Jersey will remain closed through at least Friday, May 15.
As we get closer to that date, he will reevaluate and decide if schools will reopen at that time or remain closed for a longer period of time.
Beginning this Monday, we will return to our virtual learning. I also want to remind all families that we are preparing breakfast and lunches, for the week, and they can be picked up at Clara Barton Elementary School on Mondays between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Please continue to with your lessons and complete all homework and classwork as itis assigned. Stay safe and maintain your social distancing as well.
Ewing Public Schools
Superintendent Mike Nitti posted the below message today:
Most importantly, I hope today finds you and your family well. Please continue to follow the directives of our elected officials and medical experts as we navigate this public health crisis.
I also want to again thank our staff for their hard work as well as the parents and students of the school community for their support as we transitioned to a Virtual Learning Program.
As you may have heard, Governor Murphy has closed New Jersey schools until May 15. We will continue with our Virtual Learning Program until that date and await further guidance from our governmental and scientific leaders.
Please take the time to read the rest of this correspondence, as it contains pertinent information related to the closure. Please check our website and communication portals frequently for updates.
Stay safe and healthy.
Academic Grading and Assessment. As you know, the district closed the 3rd quarter/EHS MP 1 based on our in school instruction to finalize the 3rd quarter report cards. We now know that we are providing instruction through our Virtual Learning Program until at least May 15th.
The work completed by students during the first two weeks of our Virtual Learning Program, from March 23rd – April 3rd, is considered part of the fourth marking period, but teacher emphasis was on the continuity of instruction and providing meaningful feedback as we transitioned to online teaching and learning.
As we move forward, instruction, grading and assessment of students is where it should be, in the hands of the teachers who know their students the best, with an understanding of the unique nature of online learning.
Students are expected to login to Google Classroom, answer the attendance question, engage with their teachers and complete the work daily. Students must login to Google Classroom, submit work or respond to a teacher to be considered present for that day.
Understanding the unique family challenges created by this public health crisis, students may submit work within 2 days of assignment due date. For this reason, teachers will continue providing students actionable and descriptive feedback for the 4th quarter/MP2.
We will also continue providing students grades on submitted assignments and projects. Students who do not submit work for the remainder of the 4th quarter/MP2 will receive an Incomplete. If a student receives a final grade of Incomplete, he/she may need to participate in the credit recovery online program through Educere to receive course credit.
EHS Course Selection/AP Testing. EHS Guidance Department 2020-2021 Course Selection Letter and Procedures for rising 10th-12th Graders is now available and can be accessed through the EHS website and our Twitter feed. Also accessible through both portals is an important document pertaining to Advanced Placement exams during the COVID-19 school closure.
Student Mental/Emotional Health. As this public health closure continues and students remain home and out of school, we know that many of our students may be struggling with anxiety/other mental health issues. Our counseling department has information, assistance and support ready. Reach out! Dr. Karen Allen Phone: (609) 538-9800 X2122. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The EHS ASYSST Program is committed to continuing offering services virtually throughout our school closure. Please join our Google classroom “EHS ASYSST” with code “o577zkq” to access information about mental health, self-care, and emergency resources as well as fun activities.
Video/Virtual Presentations. We are creating videos and exploring virtual gatherings for many of the spring events that traditionally take place during the school year that may be cancelled due to the closure.
Our first release will be a video presentation of Fisher Middle School’s 5th Grade Orientation for students and parents. It will be released on Wednesday, April 22nd.
This is also the time of the year when we like to celebrate our seniors who have made a decision on their post-high school plans, be it college, military, trade school, or workplace.
We are asking seniors to send a picture wearing a t-shirt/sweatshirt signifying their post-graduate plans, or holding a pennant, button, brochure of some other clever demonstrative method.
Photos should be emailed to email@example.com by Friday, May 8th.
Students should have a plain colored background when taking the photo, white or solid color is preferred. The photographs also need to be sent to Ms. Lopez in actual size.
Hamilton Township School District
The below was issued by Superintendent Scott Rocco today:
Yesterday, Governor Murphy announced, a day earlier than originally expected, his decision on schools in New Jersey. He stated that schools will remain closed until at least May 15.
With this information, we will move forward with our plans to build upon our remote learning and brainstorming options around the important school events for our students that take place in May and June. The first of these changes is listed below. More information will be provided in future updates.
Towards the end of today’s letter, I have included a new feature for families. We will now include a section called Tech Tips for Families. This section will provide information and resources for families during remote learning. It will include information already developed by our Technology Department and new content focused on helping families troubleshoot technology issues, as well as navigate different programs, websites, and resources being used by our teachers.
The following is from the April 15 update:
I’ve written several times about the importance of finding ways to provide some form of the many important events our students experience during the school year. These include, but are not limited to, high school graduation, prom, senior awards and transition days for our students moving from 5th to 6th grade and 8th to 9th grade.
I’ve said that we have not canceled any of these events but rather postponed them for the time being. We continue to look at options for these important events. As the calendar moves forward and social distancing requirements continue, some of those events may not happen, as they have in the past, and some may not be able to be held at all.
However, that does not mean that we are not trying to develop some options for these types of events. We will continue to work on ideas until we either have a viable option or we are notified that we can not hold the event(s).
I do not want to cancel anything until we absolutely have to do so. Our students have missed so many important events and activities that I want us to try to find some option(s) that might work, given our current circumstances.
Updates as of April 17:
Spirit Week. Next week we will hold another Spirit Week for the district. Please see the graphic (below) for themes for each day. Feel free to post pictures through your social media feed. If your children are old enough, and you have allowed them to have their own social media account(s), and given them permission to post, be sure to use the hashtag #HTSDhasSpirit
June SAT. The June 6 administration of the SAT has been canceled.
June ACT. The June 13 administration of the ACT is still scheduled at this time; however, it is unclear if it will continue as scheduled.
AP Tests. Information on taking the AP Exam can be found by clicking HERE. Some key points:
- There are free online courses/materials to supplement the material your teachers are providing;
- HTSD will again pay for students who were pre-registered by their school;
- There are two windows to take the exams. The college board recommends that students take the first window. If there is an error or an issue, students can test during the second window;
- Tests have a strict time limit of 45 minutes;
- Students will be able to take exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Nottingham’s Junior Prom. The Junior Prom has now been rescheduled to Friday, June 5, at the Stone Terrace from 6 to 10 p.m.
Preliminary Registration for Pre-K. Preliminary Pre-K registration (via phone) will take place during the weeks of April 27 and May 4. Detailed information will be placed on our website, on social media and in this letter starting next week. Stay tuned for more information.
Regarding the superintendent’s update. This community update will now be published three days per week. The update will be posted by 5 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on our website, as well as all of our social media feeds.
Remote Learning Calendar (as of 4/17/20). Remote Learning will continue until at least May 15.
Tech Tips for Families. Starting today, we will provide families tech tips to help with issues you may experience while students are on remote learning. Some of these resources have already been developed and shared with our faculty to assist our students and some of it will be brand new to assist families based on information we receive about your tech needs.
Today we start with a Parent Technology FAQ . The Technology Department has developed a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document just for parents and guardians. It covers a lot of the questions we have received about technology, access, and devices. Please click HERE to access the FAQ.
Social-Emotional Learning. Please click HERE for the article, “Keeping Up Social Emotional Learning at Home.”
Hopewell Valley Regional School District
The most recent update posted by Superintendent Thomas Smith was on April 3, before the district went on Spring break. Relevant information from the post is below:
I am incredibly proud of the resilience that our students have shown and the herculean efforts of our staff. Hopewell Valley is an incredible community, and we continue to show our strength by supporting one another during this time.
Mental Health and Student Supports. These are challenging times for all of us, so our counseling department has developed a list of resources for families. If you need any support, please reach out to your building principal or school counselor; we are here to help. Frequent Contacts information is available here.
Grading. We have taken steps to make the remote learning experiences meaningful while helping our students build resilience in this challenging time. We are committed to ensuring that our students continue their growth as learners, balanced with support and flexible options as needed. We have developed grading guidelines that are available here. We will share these again over the coming weeks.
End of the Year Events Contingency Plans. We are developing contingency plans for all end of the year events. Our goal is to preserve the traditional end of the year events as much as possible—even if they take place after the school year is scheduled to end. More information will be shared in the coming weeks.
Time Capsule. A CHS history teacher would like to preserve this time in history and to show how the Hopewell Valley community came together during a difficult time. Years from now, we will be retelling the stories of this time and how it impacted our families and communities, so we are developing a virtual time capsule. Please look out for details in the coming weeks.
Hopewell Valley Mobile Food Pantry. Through an effort by the Hopewell Valley Regional School District and the leadership of Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough and Pennington Borough, with the support of local faith-based organizations, we are providing food and assistance to families and individuals in need throughout the Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are in need of food: call 609-403-0327or Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit a request for food delivered free to your door. All inquiries are confidential here.
Childcare for Essential workers. Hopewell Valley YMCA continues to serve our community by supporting families of essential workers. After collaborating with the school district, the health department, and local physicians the Hopewell Valley YMCA offers child-care at Stony Brook Elementary School during school closures for families in our community. Details are available here.
Thank You Notes to Health Care Workers at Capital Health. We are collecting thank you letters for our local health care workers. You can drop them off in the box at the Hopewell Valley Board of Education Office Mobile Food Pantry entrance and we will make sure they get them!
Face Shields. We are using several of our district 3D printers to make face shields for health care workers. Special thanks to CHS teacher Mike Sullivan and TMS Media Specialist Barbara McCarty.
Lawrence Township Public Schools
Superintendent Ross Kasun issued the following message today:
You may have heard yesterday that Governor Phil Murphy extended school closures through May 15, 2020, at the earliest. While it’s disappointing that the stay-at-home order is extended, together we are resilient and will get through this.
Remote Instruction. We will no longer use Zoom for our remote instruction after the current week. Instead, we will use Google Meet and will explore other platforms. If we find one that we feel is safe and protects our students’ privacy as well as meets our needs, we will consider changing. We will notify you of any modifications. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s instruction, please contact their teacher via email.
Technology. We have provided chrome books and/or hotspots to students (K-12) in need. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Lawrence Township Education Foundation.
When our schools needed to close on short notice, LTEF committed to working with us to identify emerging needs due to the pandemic. Subsequently, the foundation gave our district an unbudgeted $26,085 for 100 chrome books to help fulfill our needs and bring educational opportunities into more students’ homes during the closure.
Class of 2020. We realize the school closure extension is especially disappointing for our high school seniors and their families. We are exploring opportunities to highlight and celebrate them as their high school career draws to a close. It seems the biggest questions surround the prom and graduation. We will share plans once finalized.
I continue to be impressed by our community’s spirit, multiple acts of kindness and offers to volunteer–anything to help our families. In the midst of all this, please be mindful of your and your family’s wellbeing.
Some suggestions I’ve heard include: develop a regular work/study schedule, take time for socialization/nature, reflect on good things happening around you, have fun, and get out of your pajamas!
Thank you once again for your support and patience.
Princeton Public Schools
Superintendent Steve Cochrane posted the following yesterday and today:
(April 17) Governor Murphy has announced that New Jersey schools will continue remote learning through May 15. We will have more details soon about plans for the next month. Thank you to all our teachers, staff, parents and students for being so resilient and making the best of a difficult situation.
* * *
(April 16) As I write this, two beautiful red cardinals are busily (and noisily) engaged in building a nest in the tree outside our kitchen window. Nature, undeterred by the coronavirus, continues to provide for its children. So do we.
As we enter week five since our schools were closed, I want to thank our staff and our families for all the amazing efforts they are making to provide for our kids—educationally, nutritionally, socially and emotionally. I also want to answer, to the best of my ability, some of the questions you might have as we look to the future.
When will schools reopen? At this point, schools are closed indefinitely. I do believe there is a distinct possibility our governor will elect to close schools across our state through the remainder of this current school year.
If there is a way we can come back safely to our buildings before then, I will rejoice. In the meantime, we will continue to teach and coach and counsel. And we will continue to plan for multiple possibilities.
What is the current status of sports and clubs? During these unprecedented times, when schools are physically closed and remote learning has been implemented to reduce the spread of a global pandemic, we believe it is especially important for our students to still be engaged in the sports and activities they love and to feel connected to their teammates, their classmates, their coaches and advisers.
We are grateful to our coaches and advisers for finding creative ways to instruct, inspire and support our students. We have outlined here some expectations to guide their work in this new remote learning environment.
These expectations focus on providing sports- or activity-specific instruction, fostering the culture and camaraderie among the students on their team or in their club, and on continuing to enhance their own professional capacity as coaches and advisers.
We recognize that our students’ experience of a sport or club will look very different under the current circumstances. Nevertheless, we look forward to the new ways we are able to remotely further their fitness, their fun, and their connection to one another.
Are there plans for end-of-year activities? We continue to hope we can return safely to school before the end of this year. We also continue to plan for the possibility that we might not. There are so many activities and events that mark for our students, and all those who care about them, the culmination of a school year or school career.
We are particularly focused on our seniors and on milestone events such as prom and graduation. Administrators at PHS are already meeting with student and parent representatives to consider how to make those events most meaningful should they be postponed or held virtually.
The same is true for our moving-on ceremonies at our elementary and middle schools, and even for events such as field days or end-of-year concerts. We will share more once we have more direction from the State and as our plans evolve.
How can I apply to receive meals for my children? The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on families across our country and throughout our community. One in ten people have lost their jobs. Others have had their incomes significantly reduced. Family budgets have tightened.
As a school district, we are here to help. If your economic circumstances have changed, and you believe your children may qualify for the federal breakfast and lunch program, please find an application and income guidelines here. A week’s worth of breakfasts and lunches are distributed every Tuesday to more than 500 of our students through school buses parked in neighborhoods throughout town. In addition, beginning next Tuesday, we will be distributing a week’s worth of dinners for families whose children meet the federal guidelines. We are grateful to Send Hunger Packing Princeton (SHUPP) for making the distribution of dinner possible.
What can I do to help others? The value of care and compassion is spreading far faster than this virus. I continue to be heartened by the many acts of kindness and support readily provided by groups and individuals within our community. If you want to help in some way, please visit princetoncovid.org.
The two cardinals in the tree outside my window are currently practicing “social distancing.” Nevertheless, as a species, when faced with a threat, such as cold or lack of food, cardinals flock together for mutual protection. We continue to learn from the natural world around us. Thank you for flocking virtually to support our students, our schools and one another.
Robbinsville Public Schools
Trenton Public Schools
The Trenton school district was on spring break this week. The most recent update from Ronald Lee, interim superintendent, is below:
I hope everyone is doing well both physically and mentally. Continue to stay strong during these difficult and stressful times. Together we will get through this crisis and emerge better and stronger as a school district and community.
We want to remind you that we will be closed for Spring Break from April 10 through April 17. During this time, we are encouraging students to continue to take advantage of all of our online offerings. However, teachers will not be available during this time.
Remote instruction will resume on April 20th. In the interim, be on the lookout for information regarding Chromebook distribution.
Please be reminded that Grab and Go meals are being distributed once a week. The next distribution date will be on April 9.
We want to thank you for your continuous support. Have a wonderful spring break.
West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District
The WW-P School Districts was on spring break this week and Superintendent David Aderhold has not issued a recent statements. Below is an FAQ posted on the district website.
My child receives food benefits, will this still occur? Yes, if your child receives food benefits, please check your email.
My financial situation has changed, where can I find information on food benefits? Information and an application for free/reduced lunch benefits can be found on the district website.
Where can I find the district’s virtual/remote learning website? The district’s virtual/remote learning website includes a series of learning experiences created for students in grades K-5 and is housed on this site. Direct links to these experiences were also shared to students via an email from teachers to parents at the end of last week. Students at the middle and high school level should follow teachers’ instructions posted on their Google Classroom sites.
My child’s Chromebook is broken/not working. What should I do? WW-P students with Chromebooks that are damaged or in need of repair should complete this Google form (students must login to their Google account to access the form). Once the form has been completed, students or parents may bring the broken device to the front of High School North (90 Grovers Mill Rd., Plainsboro) on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
My child’s teacher said s/he sent me an email but, I didn’t receive it. During this period of virtual/remote learning, WW-P teachers will be reaching out via phone and email to students AND parents. Please check your spam filters to ensure that emails sent from your child(ren)’s teachers are being directed to your inbox and not your spam folder.
I’m moving into WW-P, how can I register? At this time, all student registration for incoming Kindergarten students for the 2020-2021 school year, as well as students moving into the WW-P Regional School District will be done by appointment only and virtually until the district re-opens. Please click here for more information and to begin the process.
Is there any news regarding the status of AP Testing? All parents with students registered to take an AP exam this year should check their email or click here for information from Dr. Lee McDonald, WW-P’s Director of Counseling, Health, and Wellness. You may also visit the College Board website for additional details.
I am considered essential personnel and need childcare. Where can I find information? Please click here for information from the NJ Department of Children and Families.
I run a childcare center and would like to open my doors for children of essential personnel. Where can I find information? Please click here for information from the NJ Department of Children and Families.