7-28-20 Operation Open LRHSD Letter

  • Operation Open LRHSD Logo Dear LRHSD Families,

    It is the intent of the Board of Education and Administration to announce decisions while Operation Open LRHSD committees are finalizing their recommendations in an effort to help families make informed decisions as soon as possible for childcare or other Covid-19 related complications. To that end, please pardon this lengthy letter, which will contain some major decisions and leave some other logistical details to be communicated by the building principals in the near future. There are many moving parts and not all of them can be easily communicated and no single schedule presented in isolation will help drive a family’s decision about sending their child to school. Therefore we are attempting to provide as much information as possible, as each bit of information may alleviate anxiety and emphasize to our LRHSD Community, that our educational health cannot come at the expense of our physical health.

    1. Each student will be assigned to either Cohort A or Cohort B according to below for our Hybrid In-person instructional model. For the purposes of social distancing in the classroom, with the exception of a few select specialized programs or parents choosing 100% remote learning for their student, every student will attend in-person instruction every other day. Due to the nature of our high school classes, the need to ensure spacing in our classrooms, and to be consistent with our K-8 sending school districts, division by alpha is necessary.

    a.     Lenape Cohort A:        A- through Law                      Lenape Cohort B:        Lax through Z-

    b.     Shawnee Cohort A:     A- through Lee                       Shawnee Cohort B:     Lef through Z-

    c.     Cherokee Cohort A:     A- through Kor                       Cherokee Cohort B:     Kos through Z-

    d.     Seneca Cohort A:        A- through Klo                       Seneca Cohort B:         Klp through Z-

    2. Changes to the School Calendar:

    a.     Front loading Teacher In-Service:

    i.     There will be no school for students September 8th and September 9th. The previously scheduled October 12th and February 12th In-service days will be moved to September 8th and 9th.

    b.     Orientation:

    i.     Thursday, September 10th will be Group A Orientation.  New and ninth grade students will be in-person and grades ten through twelve will have a virtual orientation.

    ii.     Friday, September 11th will be Group B Orientation. New and ninth grade students will be in-person and grades ten through twelve will have a virtual orientation.

    c.     First Day of our Hybrid Rotating Schedule will be September 14, 2020.

    3. Hybrid Rotating Schedule:

    a.     All four high schools will have a 7:30 AM Arrival and 11:55 AM Dismissal.

    b.     We will rotate through our normal 4-Day Rotating bell schedule as defined as the “Single Session Bell Schedule” in our student handbook. Please visit the Group A & B Hybrid Rotating Schedule page for a detailed look at which classes meet each day. Our students are already familiar with this rotation and we felt it best to keep some familiarity to this remarkable start to the school year. Below is an image of what the first full week of school will be:
    First week of school

    c.     Virtual Day student academic and attendance accountability will be defined at a later date. After ensuring all annually collected media consent forms are received, there will be synchronous, asynchronous, flipped lessons, etc. for students when they do not report to school. Staff will be trained on all approaches to ensure academic continuity. These same methods will also be utlized for students who can never report to in-person instruction.

    d.     Staff will be allotted “Teacher Time” each day after student dismissal. This extra time is needed for staff to collaborate, record lessons, communicate to virtual students, provide clarity for students they saw in-person and attend to personal business, as needed. The Board and Administration is committed to providing as much time and professional and mental health support for our staff, which results in more focused support for our students.

    e.     Physical Education (PE) classes are a NJDOE and LRHSD requirement and therefore will be conducted, however, students will not have access to the locker rooms throughout the school day. Students must wear comfortable clothes and have sneakers on days when they have PE.

    4. Meals:

    Since all students are dismissed by noon, meals will not be provided on school campus. All eligible students will receive breakfast and lunch via  delivery by LRHSD bus drivers similar to the process last spring; more information to our families in need will be forthcoming.

    5. Health Screening:

    The CDC just released new information on daily health screening for symptoms of Covid-19 by parents.  We are waiting for the NJDOE to review and update our requirement for this.

    6. Temperature Checks:

    Each person (staff, students, etc.) entering our school buildings will be scanned by a camera with thermal scanning capabilities. This will ensure all persons in our facilities are fever-free.

    7. Face Coverings:

    As previously written, and at the direction of our Burlington County Health Department and our district physicians, LRHSD is requiring all people (staff, students, etc.) to wear a cloth face covering in and on school property and at our bus stops and on the bus. Please have your student practice wearing a face covering to build their mask endurance. We feel the shortened school day along with instructions on how to safely conduct mask breaks will assist with compliance. We are told the data is clear; wearing a face cover greatly reduces the spread of Covid-19. 

    8. Excusing Study Hall…Staggering Arrival/Dismissal Times:

    a.     The NJDOE is recommending a staggered start and end to the school day.  Since our day is already abbreviated, during this Hybrid Rotating Schedule, Study Hall will be excused if it is the first class of the day or the last class of the day, provided the student has transportation.

    i.     All students who took a study hall, during our rotation of classes, will have their study hall occur either the first class or last class on certain days. On those days, they will be permitted to skip Study Hall and arrive by 8:15 AM to get to Class 2 by 8:20 AM or leave school by 11:11 AM.

    ii.     If your child did not select a study hall, and would like to do so, please contact your school counselor immediately to drop an elective and take study hall.

    9. Emotional Support for our Students:

    a.     In order to meet the social and emotional needs of our students, we are planning to have resources available to them during the school day for both in-person and remote instruction.

    b.     Counselors, case managers, mentors and other student support staff are available for students whether their cohort is in school or not.  Students will receive instructions on how to schedule meetings.

    c.     Wellness Rooms were created last spring in each of our schools. Students will be able to visit the wellness room as needed throughout the school day. We are also developing virtual wellness programs.

    d.     All staff will be provided with professional development on how to meet the social and emotional needs of our students.

    10. Disinfecting: LRHSD is implementing a pandemic cleaning and disinfecting protocol. Highlights of our regimen are:

    a.     All flat surfaces are sprayed with 3M Quat Disinfectant Cleaner 5H, a CDC approved product.

    i.     Classrooms will be sprayed after school each day.

    ii.     Lavatories throughout the day.

    iii.     Large group areas, as needed.

    b.     Halo Disinfection System: All large group areas (café, gym, auditorium, etc.) will also be disinfected after school hours using a hydrogen peroxide fogger as needed. Each of our schools is equipped with this fogging system.

    c.     High touch surface areas (faucets, door knobs, etc.) will be disinfected throughout the day.

    d.     Tubs of wipes will be located throughout the building and in every classroom which are safe for handwashing and surface area disinfecting. Students will be reminded to wipe their area before class starts.

    e.     Clearly marked hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout all of our facilities.

    11.Ventilation: All occupied spaces are properly ventilated.

    a.     Our fresh-air exchange system in all occupied spaces is continually monitored as part of our regular facility maintenance program.

    b.     Filter changes occur as required for proper maintenance.

    c.     Outdoor spaces are permitted to be utilized at a staff member’s discretion.

    12. Transportation:

    a.     We should be able to provide for social distancing on our buses since our survey of parents indicated only 40% of students need a bus to get to school and we are only sending one cohort (half of our student-body)  of students to in-person instruction each day.

    b.     All LRHSD buses and contracted service providers will be adhereing to disinfecting protocols.

    c.     Handwipes will be available.

    13. Chromebooks:

    Please be prepared to receive a communication in the coming weeks which will need your immediate feedback and provide instructions on how to obtain your Chromebook. We want all students to have a device with a camera and be familiar with that device before school starts.

    14. New Jersey 14-Day Self Quarantine:

    The list of states which require an individual to self-quarantine changes often; there are 31 states as of today. It is the expectation of LRHSD that any person (staff, students, etc.) will adhere to the Governor’s order of voluntarily self-quarantining for fourteen (14) days. Parents should have their student report virtually on those quarantine days. Staff shall not report to in-person instruction and will be providing instruction and other assigned duties from quarantine.

    15. Athletics and Extra-Curricular Activities:

    a.     LRHSD believes all student athletics and activities are essential programs in terms of social and emotional learning and in providing equal opportunities for all students.

    b.     Phase One of fall summer workout sessions are being conducted by volunteer coaches with a tremendous amount of concern for everyone’s safety. We are grateful for our parents, athletes and coaches who are abiding by the strict guidelines for participation.

    c.     We are developing guidelines and making determinations on which programs can be safely implemented without much modification or can be modified to provide a virtual experience. Please stay tuned.

    16. What if the Governor shuts down in-person instruction?

    a.     The Hybrid Rotating Schedule with cohorts and a 7:30 AM to 11:55 AM timeframe will not be the daily schedule deployed in the event the Governor orders a mandatory school closure.

    b.     We will share our 100% Virtual Instructional School Day schedule in the coming weeks.  It will include a later start time, fewer classes per day meeting and screen breaks.

    Please look for and respond to all upcoming surveys. We will need to know who can and cannot return to school as soon as possible.

    Parents, please contact your school principal if you have any general questions right now, and contact your child’s school counselor with more specific, individual inquiries.

    Thank you, and be safe,

    Dr. Carol L. Birnbohm
    Superintendent of Schools