5-12-20 End of Year Announcement Letter
Dear LRHSD Students, Staff and Parents/Guardians,
I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and healthy at this time. Last Monday, Governor Murphy announced that all New Jersey Schools will be closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of this school year. For many, the Governor’s news was upsetting and the reality that our students and staff will not have the chance to be reunited this year is disappointing. However, now that the Governor has closed schools for the remainder of the school year, it enables us to focus on immediate plans for the conclusion of the school year, set our focus on our seniors and plan for the anticipated re-opening of schools in the 2020-2021 school year.
First, remote learning will continue for all Lenape Regional High School students through June 16th. We are continuing with our Flexible Fifth Day, which has received outstanding feedback from staff, students and parents. June 9th through June 12th will be the last four days of instruction and June 15th and June 16th will be Flex Days. These last two flex days of school enable students to submit any final assignments still owed to their teacher and staff to finalize grades. For an instructional calendar please visit the June, 2020 Number Day Calendar.
In the coming weeks, detailed information will be provided by the school administration on plans to allow students and staff to pick up their personal belongings from school. This plan to retrieve and collect items was approved by the Burlington County Health Department as we need to ensure we are following social distancing guidelines, making certain everyone has personal protection equipment (PPE) and is symptom free. We will be starting the week of June 8th with seniors, who need to retrieve special items such as their cap and gown and any regalia they may have earned to don their graduation garb, along with other items. The collection and retrieval of items from underclassmen will take place throughout the remainder of June.
Our high schools will also be sending final plans regarding other end of year functions such as virtual awards ceremonies (People’s Choice Awards and Academic Awards), reimbursement from lunch accounts, participation fees, senior class trip, and details about graduation, some of which are included here.
We are proud of our seniors and we want to honor the Class of 2020 in a special way. However, late Friday evening May 8, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Education distributed a mandate that “only virtual graduation ceremonies can be planned at this time.” In addition, Saturday May 9, 2020, the Director of the State Office of Emergency Management communicated to all school districts, “in the best interest of the health and safety of the public, in-person ceremonies, including graduations…and other similar celebrations,” would violate Executive Order No. 107. These memos and Executive Order No. 107 are posted on our District website for your reference.
As we have seen, directives and guidance regarding limitations on gatherings and events have been changing frequently. As a result, we are currently planning to conduct a graduation ceremony on July 16, 2020 at 7:00 PM. After consulting with students, parents, faculty and staff, we know a traditional ceremony is most desired. We will be disseminating further information as we get closer to that date on whether some form of a more traditional ceremony will be permitted, or if we will have to broadcast a Virtual Graduation Ceremony at that time.
That said, we cannot let June 16th come and go without any special recognition for our seniors. We are awaiting final approval for a proposed “Diploma to Door” graduation plan. Under that proposed plan, members of your school’s administration will arrive at each senior’s house, between the hours of 8:00AM and 8:00PM, to deliver the student’s diploma while maintaining appropriate safety measures. For those families who wish to participate in this, we will ask our seniors to be dressed in their caps and gowns (and PPE) in order to receive their diplomas. Further information on these plans will be distributed as soon as possible.
Our seniors need closure and need to prepare for their next phase in life and we will do our best to make this transition as positive and memorable as possible. Each school and our surrounding communities will be invited to honor our seniors in various ways. I applaud the principals in their efforts to make June 16, 2020, a personal and most certainly special way to show our dedication and commitment to our seniors and their families.
I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to all of our students, staff and parents for the collaborative work as everyone has participated in regarding remote instruction. This has been and continues to be a new journey for all of us, and our students’ successes could not have happened without the efforts of our entire LRHSD community.
Carol L. Birnbohm, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Members of the LRHSD Board of Education
Chief Christopher Chew, Evesham Township
Chief Richard Meder, Medford Township
Chief Robert Dugan, Medford Lakes Borough
Chief Stephen Riedener, Mount Laurel Township
Lt. Richard Gilman, NJSP Station Commander
Daryl Minus-Vincent, Executive County Superintendent of Schools