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District Health Report and FAQ's, Part 8

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Dear Secaucus Families,

 

I hope you are all doing well and had a smooth transition to your child’s first day of remote learning. I know we dealt with a few hiccups with our Google Meets this morning, but those were quickly resolved and learning resumed in a matter of minutes. I thank Dr. Jerome Kaiser, our Supervisor of Educational Technology, and his IT team for their swift response to this issue.

 

I was hoping to give you better news about the number of cases we are experiencing in our district. Since December 23rd, we have had an additional 216 positive COVID-19 cases, including both staff and students. That brings the district total up to 293 positive cases since the beginning of the school year. While we do believe that many if not ALL of these cases are a result of “community spread” and not being spread in our classrooms, many of these faculty “absences' due to their positive tests have resulted in our transition to temporary remote instruction.

 

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. We as a community will get through this together. However, this will require your cooperation with district procedures, such as keeping your child home and getting them tested if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, the wearing of either N95 or surgical masks, as opposed to thin cloth masks or “gator” nose and mouth coverings, will further protect your children from a potential spread in public spaces.

 

As always, we will keep you updated if there are any upcoming changes that impact our school district. If you have any questions or concerns, please use the Parent Communication Form to contact us.

 

Be Well and Enjoy the Weekend,

 

Dr. Daniela Riser

Acting Superintendent

 

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Frequently Asked Questions, Part 8

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Our Parent Communication Form is still open! If there are any questions you would like to ask the district administration, please visit this link to ask: https://forms.gle/Xcx1QzgPN52JFH6DA

 

Q: Does the SBOE have a long-term strategic plan? If yes, where can it be found? If no such plan is in place, please share how the district identifies needs, sets short and long-term goals, and measures success?

 

A: While we are not required by the county or state to have such a formal document in place, we utilize various forms of data to inform us of any district, or school-wide needs. The district submits a yearly Professional Development Plan to the state, which outlines the steps we take to improve professionally each year. We have district goals outlined by the superintendent each year that are assessed in the spring of that school year. Each building principal has goals that are established at the beginning of the year for each school. We measure our successes in our consistent ranking as the top school district in Hudson County and in our rating of “A” in Niche’s “Best Schools” list. We also take the feedback of our staff into consideration when making instructional decisions in our school building, since they know our students the best. We are not opposed to developing a strategic plan going forward. Our future plans, in the upcoming school year, include the development of such a plan for the expansion of our school district and for the potential expansion of programming for all students.

 

Q: What is the plan for students with an IEP of the school goes to remote schooling?

 

A: We want to assure the parents of students with IEPs that their individual needs will be met through the same assistance that has been offered during in-person instruction. We understand that virtual instruction is not the best way to instruct our most vulnerable students, however, we will do everything possible to assure that they receive the most excellent, temporary instruction they can get. Hopefully, this period of virtual instruction will only be temporary and we will return to full-day in-person instruction as quickly as possible. 

 

Q: What is the chance that students will be in remote schooling due to the new variant?

 

A: While this new variant is highly transmissible, we have found that the spread in school is minimal, if any, with vigorous contact tracing and proper mask-wearing procedures. We believe that after this period of remote instruction that is scheduled for our school district, our students will safely be able to return to in-person instruction, despite how contagious the new variant might be.

 

Q: When will you let teachers, parents, and families know if we are going to go virtual or not after the new year (January 2022)? I think it's unfair to not prepare teachers or families if this is going to potentially happen. Child care issues, supply issues (for teachers and students), etc. I want to know what the district is going to do in order to be prepared

 

A: We made it a point to make families, faculty, and staff aware of our half-day schedule going back to school in January of 2022 two weeks before it was scheduled to begin. We also kept you informed of our rising number of staff/student cases when we returned from break due to community spread, indicating that we may “may” have to, without advance notice, transition to virtual learning if we were short-staffed. Unfortunately, we can not predict how this virus will affect our populations until the time comes. We will continue to try our hardest to keep the public well informed about our cases, our staffing situation, and our intentions as they come.

 

Q: With all these school shooting threats happening, why doesn't our district have metal detectors in the entrance of the school for safety reasons?

 

A: Our district prides itself on having one of the safest school districts in NJ, being ranked #19 out of over 300 school districts with an “A+” safety rating as reported by Niche.com. Every school building has a Class III SRO officer and a security guard. Please see our District Safety Report to learn more about our security efforts. At this time, we can not justify the money being spent on metal detectors in each building, since there are so few incidents of students bringing potential weapons to school. 

 

Q: Consideró q creer en la honestidad de los demás padres es una medida absurda ya q se ha demostrado q hay personas q no poseen un nivel de conciencia y una prueba es el aumento de los casos actuales, también días atrás una madre q participó en un evento en la escuela ella me comentó q en la entrada principal de la escuela la persona no le pidió su prueba de vacunación como se había establecido y tampoco su identificación cuando ese día las escuelas estaban alarmadas por un reto amenaza en TikTok este pasado 17 de este mes. Debido a esto consideró prudente q por lo menos la primera semana del regreso a clases los alumnos tuvieran media sesión.

 

A: Si dice que hay personas que ingresan a nuestros edificios y no se registran, lo investigaremos. Eso no está permitido. Además, es poco probable que las personas que ingresan al edificio sean responsables de la propagación de la enfermedad, ya que deben usar máscaras y tener un tiempo limitado en los edificios.

 

Q: Will mask requirements be mandated on school properties? With the covid rise, I think it should be mandated since a lot of parents and students are not wearing their masks outside school buildings. That is a huge concern.

 

A: As of now, our policy indicates that face masks are only required inside the school buildings. Mask breaks are also taken by students outside of the school building once properly distanced. We can not require visitors to wear masks when picking up their children outside of the school building. If this is concerning to you, please remain socially distanced from these individuals during this time. 

 

Q: Hi, As we have seen a rise in covid cases, isn't it nice to have virtual for the first 2 weeks instead of one session days?

 

A: The Secaucus School District will do everything in its power to have students attend in-person classes, which is the best way to educate our students. We have proven time and again that the virus is NOT being readily spread in schools. There has only been one case where an outbreak was proven on one of our sports teams. Few, if any, cases are a result of catching the virus in our classrooms. We believe our decision to go virtual for a little over a week will assure that our students and staff have time to recover from being quarantined if they have been this week. If we are able to properly staff our schools, we will have no reason NOT to return to in-person instruction on the 18th of January.

 

Q: Hello. Thank you for keeping our schools open for the half day. I am hoping that next week we can continue with them. It would be a shame to all of a sudden have to go to virtual after being so lucky to have half a day in person. I understand staffing may be an issue but I think you have to note how many staff will be back next week to work or even this week and how some were out because they did not receive their test results on time due to the backup. It would be a shame to close after coming back from break. It will place more stress on students and even your staff virtual learning is not easy. Please, I am asking next week to stay open for half days. Do not give into what everyone else wants to do, what is best for our students and in person is the way to go. From my daughter in 2nd grade please do not close. I do not like sitting in front of a computer. It is not fun. I do not learn well and my head hurts from the tv all day. I like to be in class where I have my books and the teacher shows us what to do. She is funny and she makes me want to learn but not on the computer. I want my class

 

A:  We understand. We, also, want to be open for in-person instruction. However, it is not feasible at this time. We will make every attempt to open on 1/18 so that students can learn in person in properly staffed classrooms.

 

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