4-8-20 Spring Break & Beyond Letter

  • Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:

    I hope this letter finds you healthy and safe.

    On March 13, 2020, I informed you of the joint decision in Burlington County to close schools until April 20th. Since then, the Governor ordered all schools to be closed “indefinitely.” New Jersey Commissioner of Education Repollet stated he and the Governor will not assess “the reopening of schools until at least April 17th, 2020, at the earliest,” (March 26, 2020, memo to all Chief School Administrators).

    As we review how amazingly well our staff and students have accomplished virtual school for these first several weeks, we realize this is not “school” and we look forward to the day when we can all be together again, as we miss each other and our students terribly. The notion of not returning after Spring Break is becoming a reality, thus with empathy and compassion, we are anticipating additional supports may be required in order to sustain remote learning for a longer term.

    All the schools in the Lenape Region (LRHSD and all eight sending K-8 Districts) are keeping Spring Break as originally scheduled. Our educators need it and our students need it. Our students are learning new ways to learn and our staff reinvented how they teach, coach and counsel (many, working and parenting simultaneously). And, we are all accomplishing new ways to learn and teach while having to wrap our brains around this pandemic, its effect on our loved ones, and managing our own physical and mental health.

    We will be joining many of the districts in Burlington County and the Lenape Region by instituting a Flexible Fifth Day into our remote learning schedule. As you know, we have a four-day rotating instructional schedule. April 20th will start with Day One; we will continue our rotation through to Day Four on April 23rd, and then Friday, April 24th will be our first Flexible Fifth Day. Our rotation of Days One through Four and daily student schedules will resume after each Flexible Fifth Day (our LRHSD app and website regularly display our Day schedule, for your reference).

    Flexible Fifth Day is an official school day, but staff will not be providing live remote instruction or new assignments, nor will we be following the students’ daily period schedule. Our hope is that we can all use this day to collaborate, watch tutorials on new remote learning methods, create dynamic lessons, and refresh and recharge. Students are also encouraged to use this time to get caught up on assignments, study, collaborate, ask questions and reach out to teachers for support who will be available during school hours.

    I extend my deepest gratitude to our parents for partnering with us in virtual school. Your trust in our decisions allows us to continue to provide the best possible education under less than ideal circumstances. If you require anything for your teen, our student, to better access remote learning, please contact your school. Also, regarding general communication, our staff is easily reachable through email, but if a phone conversation is required, please email staff a time you can be reached and allow your phone to receive phone calls from a blocked number.

    As always, please continue to be safe and care for one another during this pandemic.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Carol L. Birnbohm
    Superintendent of Schools