Board of Education Questions and Answers 2020-2021
- Questions about return to full-day of school, this spring and in the fall:
The elementary schools are currently using their cafeterias, multi-purpose rooms, gyms, libraries and music rooms as classrooms due to the social distancing requirements. As a result, those large spaces are not available for lunch, related arts and PE classes. We are still under the requirements from the state to maintain distancing of 3 feet or more (with masks on; 6 feet if masks are off as they are while eating). At this time we must continue the extended school day of 4 ½ hours in-school, similar to the schedules of the majority of our surrounding districts.
There were also challenges with social-distancing requirements in middle and high school. The middle school also has major construction going on. Each district has different building configuration and staffing and while we have been able to extend to a full-day, we were unable to go to a single cohort in those two schools while still maintaining the required 6-feet of social distancing for secondary schools. We are at maximum operational capacity with what we are able to achieve given the regulations by government authorities. We await guidance from the State as to operational requirements for schools for the fall, but as of now we anticipate that we will be implementing full-day schedules as of September. We are hopeful that the knowledge school districts have gained from this last year will allow them to open fully for next year.
Plans for end-of-year activities: At the last meeting, you discussed plans for one, possibly two traditional outdoor graduations for our High School seniors. Can you give parents and planning committees the official green light to plan safe, masked, socially distanced, outdoor graduations and other meaningful events for all of our graduates and allow us to celebrate these important milestones not from our couches and our cars but in the physical presence of our resilient and remarkable children and community. Thank you.
A. Planning is underway at all of our schools to provide appropriate end-of-year activities. Principals are working with their PTOs and school staff to plan safe and special events. They understand the importance of these milestones for their students, and are doing everything they can to make them happen. As the governor reduces restrictions, we will be able to plan these events at all of our schools.
- To address the climate change standards rolled out by the NJDOE - please note they have been integrated into the following content areas (see below in blue) - at Millburn they have been addressed in the sciences and in relevant content areas including cycle and elective classes - as we continue to revise and update curriculums these standards will be included in student learning to ensure that all students possess the 21st century skills necessary to thrive in our ever changing global society.
The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) supports schools, educators and districts to ensure all of New Jersey’s 1.4 million students have equitable access to high-quality education and achieve academic excellence. To be prepared for postsecondary success, students must become effective thinkers, problem solvers and communicators, and have the skills needed for high-skilled, high-demand jobs. The NJDOE’s standard review and revision process (N.J.A.C. 6A:8-2.1) provides us with an opportunity to ensure our standards are rigorous and relevant.
On June 3, 2020, the State Board of Education adopted the 2020 NJSLS in the following content areas:
- Career Readiness, Life Literacies, and Key Skills;
- Comprehensive Health and Physical Education;
- Computer Science & Design Thinking;
- Social Studies;
- Visual and Performing Arts;
- and World Languages.
These standards truly represent a foundation from which districts will build coherent curriculum and instruction that prepares each New Jersey student with the knowledge and skills to succeed in our rapidly changing world. They will put New Jersey again at the forefront of national education by including the following:
- Climate Change across all content areas, leveraging the passion students have shown for this critical issue and providing them opportunities to develop a deep understanding of the science behind the changes and to explore the solutions our world desperately needs;
- Computer programming in all grade bands K-12, ensuring all students receive a 22nd century education in the critical computational thinking skills that are the underpinning of so much of our work and so many of our transactions; and
- National standards for science and visual and performing arts, ensuring access to, and opportunity in, science and the arts, for every New Jersey public student.
- At this time we do not plan to close after Spring Break unless staffing issues or an increase in Covid cases in the schools warrant it.
Public Comments/Questions - March 8, 2021
2/22/2021 Public Comments/Questions - February 22, 2021
(Please note there were no comments at the February 8, 2021 meeting.)
Q. How does increased Covid testing in Millburn benefit the health and safety of the school community?
We understand the current transportation difficulties for parents and are working with families and the schools tomake the dropoff and pickup process as simple as possible.
Q. As we approach 1 year since the start of the pandemic and see the covid numbers decreasing everywhere, what, if any, is the plan to bring the middle and high school students back to in-person learning for more hours than what is offered now?
- Regional Risk Level
- Transmission rate
- Ability of staff to be vaccinated
- Logistics of lunch, social distancing, weather considerations
- Staffing for lunch aides that are not currently working
- Building use of cafeterias/multi-purpose rooms that are now housing the programs
We are planning to move toward a full day in the late spring time frame provided that we can safely address the factors above and any others that emerge as the planning unfolds. We will share out the details of any change to the school day as soon as possible to allow for families to plan as well. Included in this planning is to address staff members who have been vaccinated to return to in-person learning.
Q. Is there any plan to encourage the high school students AND teachers who are opting for all virtual to return to in-person so the kids who are in hybrid are not sitting in a classroom alone or having to sit in the gym and watch their teachers on the screen?
Board of Education Meeting -- November 9, 2020
Question: Can you please clarify our policies for covid-related closings? Several elementary teachers announced last night they would be working from home this week and it’s not clear to the families of those classes why - and when they will be back. Is there a reason we can’t be more open about what happened? Other schools just state when a staff member or student tested positive or is isolating due to potential exposure.
Answer: The information we send out will be specific to each different case, and must also recognize the privacy of students and staff under HIPAA AND FERPA regulations. Teachers may need to be remote due to a number of personal issues not related to a positive case or close contact with a positive case. When students are impacted and there are any Covid related risks requiring quarantining, we have and will continue to contact families immediately regarding the requirements as per the Dept. of Health and District protocols.
Questions and Answers from October 5, 2020 BOE Meeting
Questions about MMS/MHS Return to School
Question: Would the kids that are in full virtual cohort get full 41 mins per subject instruction or will the periods be shortened for cohort D as well? Will the all virtual day parallel the ABC days? Five and a half hours straight of 31 minute periods?
A. The class times/schedules will be the same for all cohorts since they are simultaneous classes.
Question: Could we go back full days at MMS/MHS and have them be dismissed for lunch as the seniors do, so that they have lunch?
Answer: We cannot offer full days at this time, and be able to provide the correct amount of social distancing and reduce exposure to the virus.
Question: As students change classes at MHS and MMS, who will be responsible for wiping down the shared equipment between classes including desks? Having students clean further cuts down on instructional time.Answer: Classrooms will be provided with paper towels and sanitizing spray for students to wipe down their own desk and study areas.Question: Has there been any research/thought to buying plexiglass dividers for desks so more kids can fit and they can go more than every three weeks?Answer: As we see how this initial phase goes, we will consider other options that may allow us to bring more students in, depending on health conditions in the community.
Question about Elementary Hybrid program
Question: From the recap I read it sounds like a fairly large percentage of students have chosen the all remote route for the 5 elementary schools. I was wondering what is the total amount of kids across all 5 elementary schools that there is space for in-person while maintaining the 6-foot distancing guidelines? Secondly, what is the total amount of students across all 5 elementary schools that have chosen to do in-person learning as of now?
Answer: As of October 5 when the Elementary hybrid students returned to school, the breakdown was about 70% of students in-school, 30% remaining remote. It may vary by school, but with those numbers our administrators were able to maintain the 6-feet of required social distancing.
Questions about AP Chinese Testing for 9th Grade Students:Questions: There were many questions about the possibility of 9th-grade students who have self-studied being able to take the AP test. Answer: This question has been resolved … all high school students who wish to sit for the AP test will be accommodated.
- If the child is home and not feeling well, they should be at home resting as they would for a sick day during the regular school day. If they are home because they must quarantine, they can join the remote class.
- The teacher has an AM in person - PM remote because of the number in class
- Teacher as ½ in the AM ½ in the PM and each group then streams the other group
- The teacher is remote, substitute in the classroom
- Believe we can keep students and teachers together
- At this point, for scheduling purposes, we are asking parents to wait until December to make a change from remote to hybrid. A student can change from hybrid to remote at any time, if it is necessary for quarantining or other reasons.
- The overwhelming request from parents after the spring was to have their students in class each day. Our administrators agree that at the elementary level, especially, it is more important to have students in with teachers to work on the core subjects for a few hours a day. This is developmentally appropriate and provides the consistency young children need.
- It is likely that we will have special student populations be offered in-person instruction beginning on October 5th.
- We are actively working to get them in before November if possible. -
- We meet the DOE and DOH standards but the CDC guidelines are more stringent, and we are aiming to meet the ASHRAE standards. We are upgrading to MERV 13 filters where the equipment allows. We are adding, where feasible, bipolar ionization that gets us closer, or beyond, the standards.
- We have the ventilation and filtration systems working as though we are full occupancy. These units have been running all summer. Quality is as good as it has ever been.
- (325 total) 200 units in K-4 school in about a month
- Clarification - all schools are in compliance - Washington will be the same as MMS/MHS but maybe sooner.
- The classroom will be sanitized and students/parents would be notified of the next steps. Determination will be made in consultation with health care professionals and the local department of health.
- We cannot speak to other districts. Decisions are made based on the size of classrooms, staffing, and other factors. We are maximizing the amount of time in the school for the core subjects.
- The rooms will be set up in a way, using technology like smart boards and screens to bring all students “into the classroom.”
- We will be moving to all filling stations. No older water fountains will be used.
- Extended care is available currently and working to see if it will be able to be extended when we begin hybrid
- We are prioritizing them as they need to be in school and require teacher contact more than the older students who can manage online learning better with less guidance
- Nurses will perform random temperature tests during the day. They will be on call for teachers who may feel a student needs attention.
- We have worked with teachers to provide them with a comfort level for returning to school, and made accommodations where necessary so that they might teach remotely. We needed additional time to hire classroom substitutes who are supervising the classroom where there may be a remote teacher.
- A family member who has traveled is considered a “contact of a contact” and that does not require quarantine by the student unless that other contact comes down with symptoms. The form does ask about student travel.
Questions & Answers - SEPTEMBER 8 - TOWN HALL and BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETINGS
Q & A - SEPTEMBER 8 - TOWN HALL and BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETINGS
- At this time we cannot provide a full day of in-person classes due to the social distancing and mask requirements that would make it difficult to provide lunch, recess and student break time in a full-day of school.
- PreK-4 students will be returning to school in early October in a hybrid model.
- We are looking to bring the Fifth Grade students back later in October or early November in the hybrid model.
- Our teachers of the early grades are very aware of the limitations of screens for their students, and are differentiating their lessons in many ways so their children are not on the computer all day.
- Teachers will be teaching their virtual classes the way they do now -- teach a lesson, students may go to breakout groups, do some independent work, have discussions.
- We are trying to keep all students with their current teachers as much as possible. This will depend on the number of students who choose to go in-school or virtual in each class or each grade level. Once we know the actual numbers of students who will be in-school or virtual, principals will be putting cohorts together. It is possible that a classroom teacher who might have 20 students -- 10 coming in to school and 10 virtual at home could teach 10 in school in the morning, and the other 10 in the PM section virtually. If the numbers in a certain class or grade break out differently, then it might be necessary to create a remote classroom for all of the virtual students.
- We cannot have students in classrooms without a certificated substitute or teacher. We are actively recruiting new substitute teachers to act in classroom supervisor roles, as well as to fill in for absent teachers.
- All spaces will be utilized in order to accommodate physical distancing.
- We do have SAM and Alphabest operating out of Glenwood and SMS currently. Due to social distancing requirements, we may not be able to offer full-day childcare programs in the elementary buildings once students return for in-person learning. We are working with SAM and AlphaBest to find alternate locations to be able to continue to provide childcare for those families who need it.
Q. What are the actual steps you are taking to ensure that schools open in a hybrid or in-person manner in October AND November?
- We are doing everything possible to make sure we have enough staffing for all students to go to school in-person or virtually by early November.
- Lunch times at each school are designed around the daily class schedule. Families may have to adjust their lunch schedules or planning in order to accommodate the lunch times of your children.
- Contact David Bailey and /or apply through the HR department https://www.millburn.org/apps/pages/Substitutes
- HR has a dedicated employee working with Millburn residents who wish to become substitutes.
- As we phase-in our elementary and 5th-grade students, we will be simultaneously working toward bringing in our secondary students as soon as possible. There are many factors involved beyond just opening our school buildings -- transportation, staffing, scheduling both in-school and virtual classes, that are more complicated at the secondary level.
- Currently our classes are aligned with our district size guidelines, we will continue to monitor our WL classes.
Questions and Answers from August 24 Town Hall Meeting
- Can you please describe all the ways the district has implemented professional development to make sure the virtual teaching is much improved from the spring. please be as detailed as possible. Have all teacher's been given any training?
- Teams of teachers have worked together with Instructional Supervisors, and Departmentt Chairs to work on core content areas. Curriculum and Instruction Department is providing PD on Google with a Google consultant, and during September 1-4 a variety of trainings were offered.
- Is a chrome book provided by the district to all incoming K students? Trying to figure out what we need to have ahead of September 8 in terms of technology
- Yes a Chromebook will be provided to all students. It is required that students use the district-provided chromebook because it has the software and access to programs that students and teachers will be using.
- What are the air quality issues in the Middle School?
- The majority of the Middle School’s ventilation is fine. The Annex is ventilated by ERV units and have identified them as concern as well as the geothermal system. These systems have been on the schedule to be upgraded next spring. We are looking into whether these projects can be expedited. We anticipate that by March or April 2021 we will have mitigated the 3-4 units that have not been updated. In the meantime we will look into moving students into other spaces.
- Will IEP students be online?
- All students are starting remotely. We will be working toward bringing our special populations into school buildings first.
- Childcare services are using our buildings, and offering 8 hours of care. How is this ok but not ok for students?
- Schools are safe to enter and be in. We are looking at staffing issues in order to be able to open our buildings and have every class covered with a certified teacher.
- What is the expectation of actual face-time with the teachers, need a better picture of what the student day will look like?
- Expectation is that the teaches will be available just as if they are in brick and mortar
- Teachers will work as they do in person, a variety of instructional practices - some lecture, some small instruction and some presentations
- High Dept Chairs have posted videos of what a class will look like
- Please go to our district Return to School webpage to see these videos, and expectations defined in the Virtual Learning Handbook.
- I saw in the letter that MHS will be returning to traditional grading, what is the new testing policy for the high school?
- We will be following traditional grading and assessment practices at each level, with new insight from our PD training on best practices for assessment of online teaching and learning.
- Will the teacher be available to answer questions during the assignments?
- Teachers will be available during the school day to teach and support students as they do during a full day of school.
- Will the October SAT be hosted in Millburn? Will we still be open? Will we open up other dates for just Millburn students? Please include ACT option
- We are looking into having the test held at Millburn High School. There are concerns about having enough proctors. We are surveying the usual proctors, and may reach out to the community.
- How will tests be given at the High School?
- Teachers and supervisors are reviewing testing and assessment, and will be adapting them for virtual learning.
- What precautions will be taken to keep students from being tied to their desks, homework? Screentime?
- Breaks and time to work on assignments individually will be built into the day. Groups will come back together to review and share information.
- Schoolwork and screen time will be age appropriate and relate to what was done in school that day.
- Homework will be only for review or preparation for the next day, with the amount of daily screentime taken into consideration.
- Why have we not really considered the tent idea while the weather is still nice--other districts have figured out a way to make it work
- Cost of tents
- Technology for the kids how are watching at home
- Cost of additional resources
- Looking to have outside breaks at the elementary level
- What do we expect will change between now and November to allow for in person?
- It gives us time for aligning our staff, hiring, reassignment of staff to work in other buildings or based on their certifications to cover all the buildings. We are looking into the options for substitute teachers which may be needed for teachers who are unable to return to the buildings. We need time to get new subs approved.
- We are looking to get the younger students in the buildings possibly earlier than the secondary schools. The upper level coverage is harder as the teaching is more specialized.
- Will chorus/band & PE take place virtually at MMS & MHS?
- At the Millburn Public Schools, Related Arts and Physical Education are an essential focus to enhance and enrich the lives of all our children. These classes help students learn new skills and passions we hope they carry with them for the rest of their lives. High School and Middle School students will follow their regular schedule, including PE and music.
- Many students already have computers. Is there a requirement that students receive chromebooks or can the district possibly save money and give students/parents the option to not take a computer that will just sit on a shelf all year?
- Students will need to use the district-issued Chromebookbecause it has the software and access to programs that students and teachers will be using.
- Suggestions on how working parents can prepare for the school day, especially for the younger students.
Students benefit from a community of support with the administration, teachers, staff, and parents working together. Parents are encouraged to support their students in the following areas:
Set Up a Remote Learning Space and Establish Routines at Home
- Work together with your student to establish and create a designated space that is appropriate for learning. This does not always have to be a desk but should be located in a space that students can work in with minimal disruptions.
- Engaging students in designing and creating their own space will increase motivation for successful learning.
- Ensure the necessary school supplies are available such as Chromebook, pens, pencils, paper, erasers, scissors, post-it notes, a ruler, tape, clips etc. In addition, any textbooks, work books and learning materials should be located in the learning space.
- Consider comfort such as seating, adequate lighting, and creating a space that is personalized.
- Be cognizant of the surroundings to be sure the space is free from other family members being in view of the camera.
- Access to a power source is important for charging devices.
- Remind your student to put away phones and other distracting devices during class time.
- Establishing daily routines such as a standard bedtime and wake time is critical to student success. A good breakfast, lunch, snack and hydration are a must! Be sure students are drinking water often.
- Students are expected to dress appropriately for school.
- Attendance is critical to student learning. As such, consistent attendance is expected.
- Will seniors be refunded their parking spot fees if the district remains all virtual?
- The High School administration will provide further information about parking fees.
- Materials that go along with the online instruction? What will the elementary day look like?
- Please see our Virtual Learning Website and Virtual Learning Handbook for more information.
- Pay for play? What controls are in place to allow for students, parents, teachers to voice their concerns - communication lines to make sure their is a response.
- Communications lines are always open between administrators and parents to express concerns. The district will follow the policies that are in place regarding tutoring.
- Will the virtual option be able to extend when we go to hybrid classrooms?
- Yes, as per the Department of Education all school districts must offer a remote-only option for families that desire it.
- Is there a possibility for the high school students to be able to go in and maintain 6ft distance - for at least a few days a month?
- We will be monitoring the local health conditions and consider a gradual return to the school buildings.
- Concern about the attention of the elementary student in the home setting for the whole 8:30 - 3PM day?
- There is some discussion about a shorter day for the younger students
- The virtual day will be age appropriate, breaks (both physical and brain)
- Assessments will be done at the beginning of the school year to determine where students are
- COVID testing results can take 5 days. For hybrid option, what do we do if there are students having fever in a class while waiting for the test results?
- Any student or staff member who exhibit symptoms of illsness, of any kind will be sent home, and may not return until they have been fever-free for 24 hours. Depending on the illness, a doctor’s clearance may be required.
- For incoming K students, is there an option to skip all-virtual part, but join back in once in person (or hybrid) learning starts?
- Kindergarten is not required in the state of New Jersey, so a parent could choose to re-enroll once we are back in-school. But, we would recommend giving the virtual classes a chance. Our Kindergarten teachers are working hard to make their students feel a part of the Kindergarten community so they will adjust easily when they return to school.
- Pre-K students will start right away, how many students will be in those classes?
- Range 8-10 students as well as other specific populations
- Reimagining homework? Will be good opportunity to practice no homework, too much stress
- Homework may be assigned as grade, content and age appropriate. Homework assignments will be an extension of the material covered and reinforce skills that were taught. Screen time, as well as the need for homework assignments will be carefully considered. Assignments are thoughtfully assigned to build instruction the next day or help students address gaps in learning.
- How short are we on the teaching staff?
- Teaching gap - hiring in April, May and JUne
- Usually need to hire 4-5 in late August
- Currently need 80 staff members
- Needs could change by November
- Will dept chairs oversee and keep track of teachers to assure that the full day plan will be enacted?
- Yes, they will be overseeing this, this is their responsibility
- Will the curriculum across all elementary schools be the same?
- Yes, our elementary schools all follow the same curriculum across the district.
- What is the probability of the pre-school special education students attending in-person before Nov 9th, 2020? A more solid answer is critical as these children are learning through all senses and their brains are developing rapidly at this age.
- We agree that this population benefits from being in school and we are working on staffing to get these students back sooner
- Hi, will printed materials be provided for virtual learning?
- There will be a variety of materials provided for virtual learning. Kits have been sent home with students along with their Chromebooks.
- If other schools are able to go back to in person learning and not see a spread of disease how can we get our teachers to come back as well so the students can attend in person.
- We are working with our teachers and staff to provide the level of comfort they need in order to return to the school buildings.
- Please confirm that the guidance counselors will not be delaying any activities requires for college apps (ie. Recommendations and transcripts).
- Guidance counselors will be working with their senior students as they do every year to support them in completing their college applications.
- In anticipation for schools going live post Nov 9, can the board research the possibility of a high level programmer to optimize the MHS/MMS schedules to minimize schools changing physical classes? Can we try to create pods?
- The high school has worked with logistics programmers to review these options. They came away with the understanding that the level of complexity of our high school schedule is very difficult to manipulate. We continue to review the scheduling options and optimization of groups to minimize the amount of travel through the building.
- What is the probability of the staffing changes by November 9th?
- We are working through the accommodation requests from our teachers, and we will have a better sense of our staffing needs in the next few weeks. We will then be able to know how many substitutes we may need to have in our classrooms, and/or teaching remotely.
- Middle and High School will be our challenge.
- Kids with IEPs and get in class support..How will this accommodation be made virtually?
- Co-teaching is one way of the support being provided. In class support
- Pull out support is provided throughout the day. Case managers can help to make those connections
- HI, I wonder if the district could be more transparent on the shortage of teachers/staffs, and the proportion of the students plan to do remote learning based on the previous survey, stratified by schools, can remote teacher/staff and students be matched?
- We will be surveying again as we move toward reopening the schools. We will use the data to assess how to staff the classrooms.
- The data from both staff and students was cahinging on a daily basis, making it very difficult to plan for the school year and create schedules.
- Starting remotely gives both teachers and students the opportunity to ease back into school, and to better prepare for returning to the buildings.
- Will teachers be able to teach in their classrooms?
- Yes, teachers have the option to teach from their classrooms.
- As of this time we believe about half of the teachers are considering teaching from their rooms.
- Can the teachers have in person office hours?
- CDC recommendations, we will not have face to face meetings, but teachers will have regular office hours to meet with students.
- Can seniors have in person traditional?
- The high school is reviewing these options.
Millburn Township Public Schools
Return to School FAQs
(as of 8/7/2020)
- Can you clarify the MHS/MMS A/B Days? Will the students who are at home on their A or B Remote day be watching the live teacher in the classroom each day? Will they be following the same assignments and discussions that the A/B groups are doing but just doing it at home? Will they have 5 days of instruction? On Wednesday when A&B are both remote, is there live instruction on that day for both groups or is that another day of independent remote work?
- The A/B remote day will be a live broadcast of the in-person classes. Students at home will see the live teacher and follow the same schedule and assignments as the students in school that day.
- The Wednesday all remote day will include a combination of live and remote, will follow the same schedule of student classes as the A & B days.
- Plan B Remote students will follow the live broadcast of the in-person classes 5 days a week.
- All students will have five days of instruction, all periods provided. They are 31-minute periods
- Instruction will be live whole and small group as well as independent class and homework assignments to simulate regular “brick and mortar” instruction.
- If we select the remote learning option, will this be only for the whole year or can we have the option of choosing each quarter?
- The protocols for changing to/from hybrid model to remote model are:
- Parents can opt for their child to move from Hybrid Plan A to the Remote Plan B at any time by notifying the school.
- If parents opt to have their children start in the Remote Plan B and want to change to Hybrid Plan A, they will need to submit a form to make that request.
- The forms and the procedures for making a change will be available at the start of school.
- There will be specific timelines for making a change to opt back into the Hybrid Plan A from the Full Remote Plan B:
- MHS/MMS: Change will be made as of the first day of the next month (i.e. Start the year fully remote in September and then opt to be in the Hybrid starting in October)
- Elementary: Change will be made at beginning of the 2nd Trimester (November)
- Parents must give two weeks notice to change from Remote Plan B to the Hybrid Plan A.
We will review these plans once we start school and have a sense of how the scheduling is working..
- Would remote learning teachers all be regular full time MMS teachers?
- Yes, classes will be taught by our MMS and MHS teachers who are able to teach in the buildings. We are reviewing other options for teachers who may need to be remote, or who take a leave. We are hiring long term substitutes to be available to fill in.
- For MMS and MHS, if a teacher chooses to do distant teaching b/c of underlying condition, how would teaching be carried out with both in-person learning and distance learning?
- Our Human Resources Department is working with teachers as to their needs.
- Would regular classrooms have video streaming for online students or on days that students can’t attend school for any reason (e.g. regular sick day)?
- At the Middle and High School, there will be live broadcasts of the classes to provide simultaneous instruction.
- Will elementary students who opt for full virtual instruction have an assigned teacher who will teach them every day? Will they then join that teacher's live class? Or it will be an entirely separate experience?
- We are using the data from the parent and teacher return to school surveys and working with Instructional Supervisors, Department Chairs and Principals to create a robust instructional learning plans for all students. Once we have a sense of how many students and teachers will be remote, we will create a schedule that will provide equitable, comparable learning for students in all plans.
- Will there be the same teacher for both hybrid and virtual? I mean if I opt for virtual, then will the same teacher teach virtual as well as in person instruction at the same time?
- See above. We continue to evaluate as we get the data from parents as to their Plan choices that will help us make those decisions.
- For full virtual instruction, how many students will be in each cohort? Will each 100% remote cohort for a) Reading/Writing/Math and b) Social Studies/Science, Related Art be capped in size and if so, what is the cap? What will the instructor/child ratio be?
- It will depend on the numbers of students who choose to go remote or hybrid. All students, remote or hybrid will have instruction that will consist of whole group and small group learning, based on needs of classes and students. Instructional Supervisors and Principals will be monitoring the instructional practices in all classrooms.
- How will parents be equipped to prepare their children for the upcoming days/weeks – will a calendar of planned assignments/instruction be provided so families can prepare accordingly?
- Yes a calendar/daily plan will be provided.
- Will resources be provided so that parents can supplement and reinforce the curriculum at home as needed?
- Supplemental and reinforcement programs and resources will be available for students and parents.
- We will be offering a Parent Academy to support families in their homes and at school.
- Will any allowance be made in the remote schedule to allow for more dedicated social interaction/discussion between classmates?
- There will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning when the child is at home.The classes will be Google Meets that do allow for students/teacher interaction.
- Would there be any difference in curriculum for remote vs hybrid learning?
- We will be following our standard curriculum for each grade level. At the elementary level there will be a strong focus on core subjects of Reading, Writing and Math
- If a hybrid option is selected, but student is absent in school but joins online on any day for any reason, would it be counted as present or absent?
- If a child is home sick, or on quarantine, if they are feeling well enough, they could join the online class.
PLAN B ALL REMOTE
- Will students who choose an all virtual option be "Zooming" into a classroom with other students who are present in the school? Meaning, will they be hearing the same teacher that others with see in person? Or will this be an all remote children in the Zoom classroom like we did in the spring?
- In the Middle and High School, they will be participating in the live broadcasts of their regularly scheduled classes.
- In the elementary schools, we are using the data from the parent and teacher return to school surveys and working with Instructional Supervisors and Principals to create robust instructional learning plans for all students. Once we have a sense of how many students and teachers will be remote, we will create a schedule that will provide equitable, comparable learning for students in all plans.
- How will the child and the teacher interact with each other in a live streaming session? How will the child be able to participate in the discussions effectively?
- There will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning when the the child is at home.The classes will be Google Meets that do allow for students/teacher interaction.
- Will there be smaller pods of students within the A or B grouping?
- We are planning for classrooms design to maximize space and separate desks to facilitate a social distance of six feet between each student.
- Will all classrooms in the same grade have the same online curriculum, or will different classrooms have different online curricula?
- Teachers in each grade will follow their standard curriculum.
- Will there be papers or projects sent home?
- Yes, the curriculum will be followed, so that will include tests and projects, adapted for these circumstances
- Are you simultaneously developing a more thorough and robust full remote option, as there is a high likelihood that we will need to enact 100% remote Plan C to protect health/safety of all stakeholders.
- Yes, we have a team of educators focusing on a robust all virtual learning plans at all grade levels, as we know this is a likely inevitability.
- Can you consider having more times for elementary school students to change from virtual to hybrid. Once a trimester is too long.
- Once we start school we will be able to evaluate making changes to schedules.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS/CLEANING
- For the kids that get pulled out. Is there a thought to only have pull out so they aren’t exposed to multiple kids or are you placing all special ed kids in the same class?
- The Special Services Department is making plans that involve the health and safety of students and staff while following the student IEPs.
- Will reading and library books be sent home or will it all be online?
- There will be minimal use of shared items such as library and textbooks.
- Will hand sanitizers be installed throughout the school?
- There will be hand sanitizers, and handwashing stations throughout the school buildings.
- How will socialization be addressed now that lunch and recess are no longer.
- Students who attend in-school will be able to interact with their peers in the classroom. At Middle and High School, the Wednesday remote day for all is an opportunity for all students to come together. The Elementary School Instructional Supervisors are working with teachers to provide socialization opportunities for students.
SCHEDULING (CHOICE/ REQUESTS)
- Can you make a request for A/B day, or AM/PM? Or other schedule requests?
- At this time principals are not taking requests for a child’s schedule. If you have a serious consideration for a request, you may send it to your principal, but they cannot guarantee a specific schedule. They are balancing the classes, as always, based on the needs of each individual group.
- When will the schools be able to send out my children’s schedule (pm/am) for elementary?
- Once we have final decisions from parents (August 14), principals will be able to send out the final schedules.
- I'm also interested to know if teachers have the tools and skills to carry out remote teaching effectively. It's something new to all of us so it'd be beneficial to spend time this months to workout any issues.
- We are implementing a Teacher Academy and a Parent Academy to provide professional development for our staff.
- The Parent Academy will give parents resources and support for the technology tools and more that our students and teachers will be using.
COVID Case Protocols
Millburn Protocols as provided to the State in our Restart and Recovery Plan:
Protocols for Symptomatic Students and Staff
Millburn Public Schools Nursing plan provides guidelines for the provision of Nursing services by the school nurses. The Nursing Plan is reviewed by the School Doctor annually and approved by the Millburn Board of Education. The plan will be reviewed and updated with any pertinent information regarding Covid-19.
The following district guidelines are provided to deal specifically with the novel Covid19 virus based upon CDC guidelines:
- Standard protocols with regard to cases of Covid-19 in a classroom or school have NOT been established by the CDC and NJDOH in the school setting. Their current guidance is that we must notify our public health officials and work closely with them in our response.
- Protocol for Staff who are Ill
- If a staff member falls ill, they must stay home until cleared by a doctor to return to work.(e.g. Be given a diagnosis of strep/flu and treated)
- If a staff member tests positive for COVID 19, he/she needs to self isolate for 10 days and may return to work after 10 days if symptoms are diminishing and no fever for 24 hours with physician clearance.
- If a staff member comes into contact with someone who tests positive he/she must quarantine for 14 days.
- If a staff member tests positive, contact tracing is carried out to stop further infections. Health department will be informed and involved to prevent spread. Any students or staff members that came into contact with that person 2 days before or once symptoms appear, must be notified and all must go into quarantine for 14 days.
- Rooms/buildings must be thoroughly cleaned.
- Protocol for Students who are Ill
- If a student falls ill at school with fever,cough, shortness of breath or any other symptoms of COVID 19, that student must be removed from class and sent to the nurses office where they will be evaluated and put into isolation until picked up by a parent/guardian. Rapid response minimizes risk. CDC isolation protocols for schools
- Ill students need to be picked up within 20 minutes of a parent being called. Parents/Guardians must identify backup caregivers added to their emergency contact list if their job takes them more than 20 minutes from school.
- After the student is placed in an isolation area, school staff who work in the isolation area should follow CDC’s Considerations for Cleaning and Disinfecting your Building or Facility.
- If students fall ill they must be cleared by a physician to return to school, fever must be explained through diagnosis, such as strep throat, ear infection, etc.
- If a student is diagnosed with COVID 19, he/she needs to remain out of school and follow isolation protocols and can only return to school when cleared by a physician.
- Contact tracing must be done, preferably by the school nurse and an administrator, in collaboration with the local health department.
- Anyone who spent more than 15 minutes with the student 2 days before or once symptoms appear, needs to be notified and go into quarantine.
It is essential that we protect people’s privacy, HIPAA and FERPA when disclosing any illnesses or evaluating students.
- We are in the process of reconfiguring our nurses’ offices so that if a student or staff member displays symptoms consistent with COVID-19 at school, we have an isolation area.
- The student/staff member will be isolated, away from others in the school building, until released to a relative.
- We also have secured PPE for our nursing staff so that they may effectively and safely manage anyone who might have COVID-19. The isolation area will be properly cleaned and disinfected after each use.
Facilities/Social Distancing/Arrival & Dismissal/Student Circulation in Buildings
- Since kids need to change classroom for different sessions, the hall way will be crowded and kids will bump into each other. How will you make sure of social distancing and at the same time make sure kids get to their room on time?
- There will be accommodations in the hallways, one way signage, social distance markings on the floor. Where possible, students will be grouped together in one area of a building (e.g. 6th, 7th, 8th grades in separate wings.)
- Will kids be allowed to eat or drink during five hours if they choose hybrid plan? Will water fountain in school be still available? If yes, what will be done to make sure those are safe?
- Students will be asked to bring their own filled water bottles, and they will be allowed to drink and stay hydrated.
- With the new mask mandate from the Governor, we are reviewing protocols for whether we can safely allow snacks. These decisions will be made before school begins.
- MMS: Will teachers go to classrooms instead of kids walking to different classrooms for each subject? Will children travel from classroom to classroom in High School and Middle School?
- Yes, there will be some traveling in the hallways in High School and Middle School. There will be a stay to the right requirement in the hallways, and one way stairwells.
- If the students are moving between classrooms, multiple students will be using the same desks/chairs - how will they be sanitized between classes?
- Students wil be using the same desks as other students. Sanitizing guidelines are being developed.
- Will kids be able to get to class on time within social distancing guidelines?
- Teachers will be flexible and understanding about timing.
- What will be done to make sure the bathrooms are safe?
- Administrators, in conjunction with the school nurse,are creating site-based procedures for restroom usage to allow for social distancing.
- How will you control crowds at arrival and dismissal?
- Plans are being made at each school building to use multiple doors and entrances, stagger entry and exit, and pick-up/drop-off areas. You will get many more of these details from your principals as we get closer to the start of school.
- How many kids will my child be exposed to?
- By creating the A/B cohorts in Middle and High School, and the AM/PM cohorts in elementary school we anticipate approximately half the number of students would be in a class at any time. Our expectation is that there would 10-12 students in a classroom, at a social distance of 6 feet wherever possible.
- All students and staff will be required to wear masks. Per the Governor’s order as of Monday, August 3, the Governor has mandated that masks are now required for all students and staff in schools.
In general, classrooms throughout the district are equipped with unit ventilators. These are stand alone units which are typically piped with hot water and supply fresh air through an air intake. Our Siemens Building Automation System allows us to control the amount of outside air that is provided to the space by modulating the damper actuator that is installed on each unit. The fresh air is tempered as it passes through the hot water or steam coil and is boosted by a blower fan which helps to achieve the recommended number of air changes per hour as specified by the manufacturer and ASHRAE standards. The filters for these units capture particulates from both the outside air and return air in each space they serve.
In some cases, there are gas fired rooftop units that serve certain parts of the district. These are typically economizing units that bring in fresh air and contain pleated filters to capture particulates from both outside air and return air. To help ensure air quality for these units we are upgrading from MERV8 to MERV13 filters and adding ionization units in the ductwork. The district has made a significant investment over the past few years to upgrade much of the equipment around the district to ensure improved air quality, including air conditioning of all classrooms. In some cases cooling comes from central units, some is from window mounted air conditioning units, and some come from ductless units or a chiller which circulates chilled water through the piping system.
Having windows open, especially during hot and humid weather, can compromise indoor air quality and our ability to maintain a comfortable learning and working environment and can also lead to premature equipment failure.
- Outdoor Learning
- There has been much interest in providing the opportunities for outdoor learning activities. School administrators are looking at what is possible within their schedules, and with limitations for technology use during an outdoor lesson.
- At MMS/MHS they may not be able to take a class outside because they will be live broadcasting their classes, and must ensure access to the technology for all students. . Where it is possible, they will have the opportunity.
- Elementary AM/PM classes may be able to have class outside, if it will not impact remote learners.
- There are also considerations for additional cleaning protocols, weather impacts (wind/rain) on the safety of tents etc.
We are exploring these options.
- We will require families to adhere to the current state and federal travel advisories for travel to New Jersey from the identified high risk states with a significant spread of COVID-19.
- Under the 14-day quarantine travel advisory announced by the Governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, individuals traveling to New Jersey from states with increasing rates of COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. This includes travel by train, bus, car, plane and any other method of transportation.
- A negative virus test does not supersede the quarantine period. Please pay attention to your travel locations and dates in order for your child to start school on time.
- According to local health officials, students must self-quarantine for a full 14 days (beginning on the day you leave a location on the quarantine list) prior to starting school.
- To start in school on September 3, students would need to quarantine as of August 20. IF the start date is moved to September 8, quarantine would need to begin on August 25.
- According to Johns Hopkins a person in self-quarantine should:
- Stay at home
- Use standard hygiene and wash hands frequently
- Not share things like towels and utensils
- Not having visitors
- Stay at least 6 feet away from other people in your household
Once your quarantine period has ended, if you do not have symptoms, we will request a note from your doctor in order to return to the Hybrid Plan in-school.
- For remote learning, will the kids be provided with the laptop from the school?
- Yes, all students will have a district-issued Chromebook. More information will be coming from the Technology Department about returning the Chromebooks that were issued during our school closure, and the re-issuing of Chromebooks for all students.
Grading Assessment Questions
- More information will be coming from your schools about grading and assessment. We will be following traditional grading and assessment practices at each level.
- Will subjects like band and chorus continue this year? How would it be incorporated for online students?
- Discussions are still underway as to how to provide music instruction safely in-school, as well as remote options.
- Will there be athletics? Or other clubs?
- We are following the NJSIAA guidelines for athletics. Fall teams are currently in training.
- The schools are looking at opportunities to provide club activities virtually, or in-school, if possible.
- What about shared supplies like computers and books?
- There will be minimal use of shared supplies
- Will students use lockers?
- No, lockers will not be used. Students will be asked to bring a small bag (e.g. drawstring bag to carry minimal supplies back and forth.
- Can you incorporate some eye protection into your plans? It is recommended to promote the 20-20-20 rule, which is a suggestion from an ophthalmologist. Using the 20-20-20 rule can help to prevent this problem. The rule says that for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, a person should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Our health professionals will review these suggestions