Montclair Public Schools Reopening Town Hall (VIDEO)

Montclair Public Schools received more than 350 questions from families for its first reopening virtual town hall meeting Thursday evening, according to Montclair School Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Ponds, who led the meeting and was joined by members of his senior staff, said the administration tried to answer many of the questions in a slide presentation geared to explaining what families can expect when schools reopen in September. The presentation, said Dr. Ponds, is guided by The Road Forward, published by New Jersey’s Dept. of Education and Dept. of Health, which focuses on both learning acceleration as well as health and safety guidance.

Montclair Schools Director of Human Resources Damen Cooper addressed the difference between quarantine and isolate.

“If you have to quarantine, that’s because of a possible COVID exposure. That does not mean you yourself are positive,” said Cooper. “If you have to isolate, that means you yourself are COVID positive.”

In terms of the length of time that a student would have to quarantine for, Cooper said you have to quarantine for 10 days with no test, or 7 days with a negative test between days 5-7, if you choose to get your child tested. Then, the negative results must be shown on day 8, for your child to be able to return to school. This information is available on the district website and will be updated to reflect current CDC guidelines.

Dr. Ponds spoke about proper mask wearing as well as mask breaks for students and staff with social distancing. Dr. Felice Harrison-Crawford, Director of Operations & School Support Service, said all of the staff would be trained and will show students the proper way to wear a mask and that staff would also remind students when necessary. Lunch would also take place outside as much as possible, weather permitting. Before care and after care will be available at all sites, all schools, in September.

Harrison-Crawford said the schedule is still being developed for pool testing. The presentation also details how cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted.

Watch the entire town hall below:

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  1. Not to be too much a downer, but Delta has shown us that realizing the concept of herd immunity has been eviscerated. Yes, even in Montclair. The Administration and Its CDC have been spoon feeding us the bad news since before Independence Day. Yet, it doesn’t seem like the Town Hall strayed from the long-established script.

    So, without herd immunity, how does that change our local strategies for this Fall semester and next Spring’s? I appreciate people worked over the last 8 weeks to get to a reopening, but they assumed herd immunity.
    Opening was never the big problem. When the plan goes to sideways, as they tend to do, is the big problem. What is the plan to protect in-person learning at all costs?

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