Ridgefield School District
2020-2021 Parent Portal
After the most careful thought and deliberation, as we are seeing in many other districts, the Ridgefield School District must make the difficult decision to start the year remotely/virtually for all students for Marking Period 1, despite our initial reopening plan. It has become clear that realistically, for the safety of students and staff, the District will not be able to facilitate our Option A Hybrid approach on September 8th for the following reasons:
The District is committed to supporting staff members who have an extenuating medical circumstance and cannot physically return to work safely. However, at this point we (A) cannot ensure enough coverage to also provide for adequate supervision of students, and (B) cannot open schools without certain staff members who are essential to doing so because of their roles.
Delays beyond our control have caused the District to still not receive internal and external signage, certain PPE, hand sanitizer stations, and temperature-check kiosks that were ordered, all of which were included in our reopening plan and much of which are required to be compliant in meeting the New Jersey Department of Education’s standards.
The District’s initial Reopening Plan was developed by Pandemic Response Teams at each building and a District Restart Committee made up of various stakeholders, and represented the best plan we could develop in spite of ever-changing guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education. This guidance directed schools to meet “Anticipated Minimum Standards” for minimizing risk for students and staff when returning to school.
Despite this, roughly 50% of parents chose Option B in our plan, which might have been expected based on the fact that 66% of parents in our previous survey indicated a “high” to “moderate” level of fear for their own children’s physical safety from COVID-19 if required to return to school – it’s clear we have a wide range of perspectives on this in our community, which one can certainly understand.
But, the safety of students and staff must always be our highest priority, and simply put, we do not have the staffing resources and equipment to ensure this right now. Therefore, the District will have to start the school-year all remote/virtual for Marking Period 1 at this point.
Students will be receiving daily, consistent, live instruction from teachers this year as we build upon and improve our ability to facilitate virtual teaching and learning. This may be the most important school-year many of your children have, and we are committed to ensuring they receive the world-class education they deserve, regardless of the circumstances.
We appreciate your understanding as we make decisions in the best interests of the safety of students and staff in this ongoing public health crisis.
Mr. Rory McCourt Dr. Letizia Pantoliano
Superintendent of Schools Interim Superintendent of Schools