Montclair Back To School: Parent University, Temperature Checks and More (POLL)

Montclair Schools is considering outdoor learning – weather permitting – and will be checking temperatures of every student who walks through the door, Schools Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Ponds announced in an email letter to parents Friday.

Ponds also shared a new initiative to support parents who are assisting their children who are learning remotely, either during their days learning at home on the hybrid model (a combination of in-person and remote instruction), or for families who choose all remote learning.

The new initiative, Parent University, will offer video instruction and virtual meetings for parents with schools’ educational teams to assist parents in acquiring the skills needed to successfully help children with their learning.

Other districts around the country as well as non-school organizations have launched Parent University programs to offer workshops and seminars to help parents hone skills.

“We will include best practice ideas for how to encourage your children, materials that explain what your children should be able to do at a given level, and supportive resources for social and emotional aspects of this experience,” Ponds writes. “We realize that these times are not easy, and we are here to support you and want you to know how to navigate the system to get the help you need. Therefore, this Parent University tool will be an online resource with a wealth of supportive materials but will also feature a section to explain how to contact us for further assistance.”

Ponds, addressing questions he has received from parents, said the district was examining all classrooms to ensure that it meets ventilation requirements to facilitate moving air.

Ponds stated that wearing masks is mandatory for everyone in the school and that masks must be worn at all times, including in hallways, during class, extracurricular activities, and on school buses.

“Disposable masks will be supplied by the school district if needed. If a mask is forgotten or lost, a disposable one will be provided for the day. Teachers will work with students in grades K – 3 to provide designated times and specific areas when masks may be removed for snack. Students or staff with a medical issue and a note from their doctor that states they cannot wear a mask, will be granted permission to wear a face shield,” writes Ponds.

With regard to temperature checks, Ponds said any child who has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be isolated until parents/guardians can pick them up.

He also asked parents to encourage children to stay socially distant at the bus stops, adding that the state guidelines do not call for reduced bus capacity, but that the district is making every effort to keep students socially distant. He added that the district was also planning to to take students’ temperatures before they board the bus.

Grouping Students for Mounties and Bulldogs Scheduling

The Mounties group of students will start school in person on September 10, while the Bulldogs (and any students choosing 100 percent remote learning) will learn from home on September 10. On September 11, the Bulldogs will have their first in-person learning day. All children from the same family (siblings) will go to school on the same day. Families can be moved between groups based upon scheduling needs in particular buildings.

Hybrid Schedule for students begins the week of September 14

Mounties – Monday and Tuesday for in-person/Thursday and Friday remote
Bulldogs – Thursday and Friday for in-person/Monday and Tuesday remote

Ponds encouraged parents to email additional questions as the district is continuing to adjust plans and refine protocols. Another survey will be sent to parents and caregivers at the end of next week to determine how many children the district can expect to see onsite, use of transportation, instructional questions and more.

Montclair Schools released results of a June survey showing that more than than half of parents said they would send their children to school in the fall if buildings reopen. Knowing the hybrid plan for fall announced by the district, what will you decide for your student(s)?

Read the entire letter – Update No. 3 – here

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