After sending out my recent message and posting it on our website, I have received a number of concerns, suggestions, and valid questions. Let me begin by stating that I am well aware that no plan will satisfy everyone, but be assured that first and foremost our top priority continues to be that everyone remains safe and healthy as we plan to reopen. I share with you a quote from Governor Murphy at his Friday update, “Normalcy is not within our grasp right now.”
Due to the constant changes and updates we have been faced with, I considered waiting before sending out my overview message outlining our proposal believing that this broad plan will have to be modified more than once. However, I felt that it was important to provide parents, students, and staff with a preview of how we intend to move forward even though some major changes are likely. Secondly, the committee wanted to ensure that what is presented, can actually be achieved based upon what we knew at this time. And finally, our plan had to take into account the ever-changing DOE guidelines and the Governor’s Executive Orders.
We are currently in the process of collecting information from staff and students about their intentions to return to school and work. I am anticipating that the finalization of our schedules will present another challenge once this data is collected. To make our plan work, it will take the full cooperation of all stakeholders including parents, staff, and students.
Several individuals have provided a strong rationale for having students return to in-person instruction, and we can all agree that there is a real need for that to happen. However, I also assume that everyone agrees that they should be returning to a safe environment. In my original message, I was careful to point out, "...we intend on implementing our plan in phases, revisiting it after several weeks, reviewing the data, while keeping a close eye on the health of the community. We do hope that in time we will be able to move closer to a normal educational environment, and yet are prepared to face the unlikelihood of another setback." Unfortunately, I too have concerns about the immediate future of this virus, but remain hopeful that things will improve over time.
With that said I have posted the District’s Reopening Plan I sent to the County Superintendent for review on our website. It can be found by first clicking on “Coronavirus Information/Links” at the top right hand corner under Quick Links and then the “Dumont Public School Reopen Plan (*New).” Know that I consider this plan a living document, and it may be revised based upon new information that is shared with the district from the county and the state.
We are still in the process of collecting data from students and staff, but I expect to have preliminary schedules and cohort lists available this week. Thank you for your patience and support. Stay safe and remain healthy.