Dear South Orange & Maplewood School District Community,
Phase 4 of our phased-in reopening plan will continue as scheduled beginning on Monday, April 26. We will be welcoming back to schools our 8th and 12th-grade hybrid students and our PreK - 2 students (as well as our Special Services self-contained, ELL) will begin attending school in combined/consolidated cohorts, five days a week. In addition, earlier this week, Principal Sanchez shared with the CHS community that they were able to consolidate three cohorts into two, so starting on Monday, April 26, the high school will be operating a new cohort schedule guaranteeing each cohort will be in each week!
During our Monday, BOE meeting we shared additional updates regarding Phase 4 & 5 reopening. I am sharing a video update and providing additional information regarding details of our families’ hybrid selection; reopening phase-in; ventilation upgrades; partition usage to assist with social distancing; YMCA childcare; and a breakdown of the demographics of those families who selected hybrid vs. virtual selection.
Some key highlights of the presentation include:
- Close to 70% of families have selected Hybrid, with elementary choosing hybrid at a higher percentage: PreK 74%; Elementary 75%; Middle Schools 66%; CHS - 59%
- We have come to an agreement with SOMEA regarding mechanical ventilation and have purchased more than 200 air purification units that are being disseminated and will result in many more classrooms and instructional spaces being available for our Phased Reopening.
- In accordance with the recent CDC and NJDOH guidance*, we have purchased individual partitions for each of our hybrid elementary students. This does not mean that each student will utilize a desk partition daily, but it is a fail-safe to assist our teachers in efficiently organizing our classrooms in the safest and most age-appropriate way (as well as to accommodate for instances for larger class sizes where 3-feet social distancing may not be possible).
Hybrid Instruction Waitlist Consideration Form:
Finally, throughout our reopening process, as a District, we have had to remain nimble as we receive guidelines from the federal, state, and local levels. With the changes to our Phase 4 & 5 reopening plans, we understand that some families who had chosen to remain virtual or missed the final March 25 change request deadline may still desire the opportunity to have their child complete their school year in person. While we can't promise that we will be able to accommodate additional change requests, we want to provide a final opportunity to families/students to be placed on a hybrid instruction waitlist for consideration. Click here for the form and details: bit.ly/SOMSDWaitlist
As we move into Phase 4, we look forward to welcoming our 8th and 12th-grade students back to their school buildings on Monday.
More information is shared in the Phase 4 & 5 resources section above, regarding links to the Hybrid Waitlist, Summer Programs Interest Survey for K-12 students as well as access to the Phase 4&5 Reopening presentation.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor
Superintendent of Schools