Montclair Schools Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Ponds offered families and caregivers more details Friday by email regarding the district’s plans for reopening in September. Ponds writes:
“Our focus is to accommodate the needs of families both remotely and in-person. From our first survey we learned that we have a percentage of families who will elect not to send their children to school (about 7%) and others who are looking forward to the return to the classroom. Therefore, our plan will include an all remote option as well as an in-person option.
Our design teams are analyzing the challenges of remote instruction and have learned from stakeholder feedback that we need to improve our virtual learning experience with more face-to-face lessons and consistency among teachers for all grade levels. We are also exploring the use of one software platform for delivery of instruction and will be providing training for teachers and parents alike. Incorporating feedback from our families has been instrumental in developing enhanced remote learning processes. Planning for in-person instruction will include adhering to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), the Montclair Health Department, and school physician guidelines inclusive of masks, shields, and social distancing in classrooms. Additionally, we are prioritizing considerations for our students with special needs.
Along with an enhanced teaching and learning environment, we will offer health and wellness supports for the social emotional benefits of students, staff and families, regardless of which option one chooses. We value the whole child and understand that providing avenues for children to feel safe, secure, and emotionally connected will improve their experiences.”
The email also includes a short survey to inform the district’s decision-making.
Ponds noted that “this is a very fluid situation with data changing daily. We will adjust as necessary and survey you again in August to assure that we are accommodating all of our diverse needs.”