June 29, 2020
Dear Clayton Community:
I hope this letter finds you safe and healthy. As we turn the page on the 2019-2020 school year, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of our teaching staff and administrators. What they were able to accomplish over the last few months is nothing short of astonishing. My “Clipper Pride” in their professionalism during this time of uncertainty has only grown.
We now have a new challenge before us – how to re-open school safely for all our students and staff. Last Friday afternoon, the New Jersey Department of Education announced re-opening guidance for our schools. From my preliminary review of the plan, here are some of the key takeaways from The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education. The link to the plan is provided below.
- School year will start either in person or as a hybrid model (partially online)
- Social distancing in the classrooms will be required
- Social distancing on buses will be encouraged
- Staff and visitors will be required to wear face coverings
- Students will wear face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained
- Students and staff will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19
- School lunches will be permitted, subject to health and safety protocols
- Recess and Physical Education will be permitted, subject to health and safety protocols
- Districts must be prepared to quickly return to remote learning if health conditions worsen
- Trauma-Informed Social Emotional Learning (SEL) will be incorporated
- Educational, emotional, and mental health supports will be involved
- Staff training and supports will be incorporated
- School funding will be impacted
- Pandemic Response Teams will be formed
- Districts will be required to submit re-opening plans
As the New Jersey guidelines were just issued, we are currently reviewing this document. Clayton School Public School District has taken some preliminary steps in developing our plan. We have formed a re-opening task force made up of administrators, health professionals, and teachers. This task force will be reviewing the state guidelines and developing a re-opening plan for Clayton. The task force is split into six sub-committees: Facilities, Governance, Instruction, Technology, Operations, and Wellness. Each sub-committee has been reviewing best practices from other state plans, CDC, and the New Jersey Department of Health. In addition, within the next week we will be posting a survey on our website for parents to complete
in order to get your input for our plan. It is my hope that at the end of this process we will have a comprehensive plan that will allow us to return to school safely.
Finally, I want to thank you again for your patience and understanding. The last three months have been an unprecedented time, and your flexibility has been essential in making it a success. This new school year will bring its own challenges. As always, I know we will meet them.
Nikolaos C. Koutsogiannis
Superintendent of Schools