Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Waldwick School District Reopening Plan
The Waldwick School District Reopening Plan takes into account all facets of school. This document will answer some of the questions related to what will change as we move into the new school year. As new questions arise, this document will be updated accordingly. As is always the case, please reach out to the appropriate school or district administrator with any questions.
What schedules will be implemented to start the school year?
As outlined in the letter sent to parents on July 24th, elementary schools will follow an AM / PM session schedule, the Middle and High School will follow a 2-3 day Hybrid Schedule. Our focused goals were to maintain the health and safety of our students and staff while striving to maximize the instructional contact time in order to sustain the integrity of our educational program and curriculum. The schedules best mirror the existing each school’s historic schedule while taking into consideration the directives from the NJDOE’s The Road Back plan.
Why were these schedules chosen at each school?
Since the spring, administrators have been looking at the different schedule options that could be implemented to start the school year in September. In late June we received the NJDOE guidelines for reopening in The Road Back - Restart and Recovery Plan for Education. Our focused goals were to maintain the health and safety of our students and staff while striving to maximize the instructional contact time in order to sustain the integrity of our educational program and curriculum. A parent survey was also sent out in early July to solicit feedback on their thoughts regarding various schedules. From all of this each school created a schedule that best mirrors their historical schedules while also taking into consideration the maturity level and ability of students to learn remotely.
What is meant by Phase 1 to start the school year?
There are many complexities in the Reopening Plan, and many variables that need to be considered for both now as well as in the future, in case our plans have to pivot based on new directives. By starting with a more prescriptive schedule that emphasizes social distancing, student cohorts and hybrid scheduling, the goal is to evaluate in regular intervals and hopefully move towards more familiar schedules and routines as the year progresses. Phase I will also give us the scalability necessary to adjust for the volume of virtual instruction necessary, based on need and parental choice.
Can a parent choose to have their child learn full time remotely?
Can I later decide to switch to remote learning? And vice versa?
Yes, parents may change their decision regarding remote or in-person instruction; however, please note that there may be a delay before the desired change goes into effect, in order to effectively prepare for the transition.
Will lunch be served?
No. During Phase 1, to minimize large gatherings as well as eliminate another cleaning need, lunch will not be served at any of the schools.
Will siblings be on the same schedule?
Yes and No. Elementary siblings will be scheduled to have the same shift. MS and HS siblings will be assigned the same A or B grouping. For families that have elementary and secondary children, the schedules are not the same.
What steps is the District taking to keep students, faculty, and staff safe?
Can I request to be in the AM or PM at elementary or A or B session for MS / HS?
Yes- but. You can put a request into your child’s principal but there is no guarantee that requests will be honored. We are cognizant that every family has unique circumstances. Our goal is to inform parents of students groupings by mid-August so that they can plan accordingly.
Why can’t you tell us our grouping right now?
With the latest directive regarding the full-time remote learning option, we are asking parents to make a decision on whether or not they will be having their children use this option by Friday August 7th. Principals will need a few days to adjust class rosters based on this information.
Are there any childcare options?
We are working with the Wyckoff YMCA for them to be able to provide child care options for parents. The Learning Experience Academy in Waldwick may also have openings. Information will become available from these agencies soon.
Will the district pay for childcare?
How frequently will classrooms be cleaned?
Classrooms and buildings have always been regularly cleaned following EPA and CDC guidelines. Custodians have been trained on update cleaning procedures as outlined by these two agencies. With the changes in schools schedules we will be able to adjust our custodial staff schedules to ensure that there is enough manpower throughout the day and during times when classes are not in session to regularly disinfect throughout each building. Based upon when classrooms are empty, custodians will have a schedule to disinfect those areas, as well as, to regularly clean the high touch areas and bathrooms throughout the school day. Disinfectant and hand sanitizers also will be available in classrooms.
Will there be enough time to clean both elementary schools between the AM and PM shifts?
Yes. As stated above we will be adjusting custodial schedules to ensure that we have proper manpower during this hour between shifts to disinfect all classrooms, bathrooms and other areas just as they will be after school to prepare for the AM shift.
How is air circulated in each of our buildings?
Each of the elementary and middle school classrooms and several high school classrooms have air-conditioners. Filters have been and will continue to be changed /cleaned according to manufacturer recommendations. For the rooms at the high school, we will follow the state guidelines with regards to opening windows and doors to maintain air circulation.
Health And Safety
What steps is the District taking to keep students, faculty, and staff safe?
The health and safety of our school community are a top priority in planning for returning to school. We have aligned our operations to local, state, and public health guidelines. We have worked with the Northwest Bergen Regional Health Commission as well as with our school physician. We will continue to work with these agencies and lean on their expertise.
Will there be daily health screenings for all students, teachers and staff?
The district is in the process of developing screening protocols for students and staff, per the NJ Road Back guidelines. Families will be asked a series of screening questions on a daily basis that will need to be submitted before students enter school grounds. It is anticipated that this will work with our student information system, Genesis. More details will be forthcoming.
How will hand washing/sanitizing take place in the schools?
Elementary classrooms all have sinks. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout each building and in classrooms. Hand sanitizing dispensers will be installed at school entrances, nurse offices, hallways, and other areas throughout each campus. In addition, every classroom will be provided with an adequate supply of hand sanitizer. Proper hand washing with soap and water will be encouraged and taught and worked into the daily schedule.
Are face coverings required when entering school buildings?
Yes. Due to the volume of people that enter and exit buildings at different times during the day, as well as movement in hallways in between classes, it is impossible to properly maintain social distancing. Therefore, students, staff, vendors and visitors will be required to wear face coverings once they step on campus and for all movement throughout schools. The following signs will be at entrances throughout the district.
Are face coverings required to be worn when students are in classrooms?
Yes. Even though we will have desks situated six feet apart and have ordered protective desk shields and dividers, to start the school year in Phase 1 we will require students to wear a face covering while in class. Also, from the parent survey, there was a strong sentiment to have students social distance and wear face covering.
Will the district provide face coverings for students?
No. Students should wear the appropriate face covering that they are most comfortable with.
How will classrooms be modified to keep students safe?
Extraneous furniture has been removed from each classroom and student desks will be six feet apart to maintain proper social distancing practices. All desks will face the same way and each desk. Each classroom will be outfitted with additional sanitation products to help maintain proper hand hygiene.
How will students be able to socially distance in one room?
Class sizes vary throughout the district. The schedules that were described above were created in order to maintain proper social distancing by minimizing class sizes. Desks will be spaced 6 feet apart and have desk shields available. Elementary classrooms will have on average 12 desks and the middle and high school 14 desks.
We are unable to accurately know at this time how many students will be in one class at a time as we are still determining how many students/families will select the 100% remote learning option. Schools will also use outdoor space, weather-permitting, to enable social distancing.
How will social distancing be maintained when moving throughout buildings and campuses?
Schools will use physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks, one-way routes in hallways, and signs on walls to promote social distancing. For all movement in hallways students must wear a face covering. Also, students must also wear a face covering once they step on school grounds before entering buildings. At the high school and middle school, students will not be assigned hallway or gym lockers to help maximize space in hallways as well as minimize close contact in PE locker rooms.
What about drop-off and pick-up? Will there be changes?
Each school will have new drop off and pick up procedures to best accommodate social distancing. This will include specific points of entry and new and different line-up procedures. During both drop-off and pick-up parents will not be allowed to get out of cars or congregate anywhere on school property. Specific school procedures will be shared closer to the start of school.
If there is a diagnosis of COVID-19 in a building, what will happen?
The County and local health departments are developing a guidebook for all schools to follow. This will give direction to schools if there is a presumptive-positive case or a confirmed-positive case among students and staff.
Conditions For Learning
What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous instruction?
Synchronous learning is interactive, two-way online or distance education that happens in real-time with a teacher, whereas asynchronous learning occurs virtually online and through prepared resources, without real-time, teacher-led interaction.
When my child is at home learning virtually will there be a live stream into the classroom?
No. We will not be live streaming into classrooms. For the schedules that are being put into place we want to maximize the in-person time teachers will have with these students. Due to the smaller classes, teachers will be able to better work with individual students. Teaching virtually and teaching in person call upon different needs and skills and at this time we feel it is best to keep them as separate learning segments.
While I understand last spring was new and different it was difficult as a parent to be responsible for teaching my children. Do I have to teach my children?
We are always appreciative of the school family relationship and there is great value in parents working with their children. We also appreciate that this past spring was difficult for parents. The schedules that will be implemented to start the school year have students scheduled from 8:00 - 3:00 PM. When elementary students are not in school and are learning virtually, for at least 1 hour daily during the virtually learning segment students will be involved in one of their “Specials” (PE, Music, Art, World Language, STEM) where a teacher will be interacting with them. Students will also be assigned specific activities that they will be expected to complete or work on to be prepared for their in-person class that will not need parent assistance. Similar to when all students are in a class together, students complete assignments at different rates of time, ie. some faster than others. This is also the same when working remotely. Schedules at all three levels will be more prescribed and be throughout the normal school times of 8:00 - 3:00, however, when students are learning remotely, similar to last spring, the time it takes them to complete assignments will vary. We would ask that parents assist students, as needed, with signing into classes at the appropriate assigned times. As is always the case, if a parent has questions or concerns about their child’s learning they should contact their teacher to discuss.
Will any classes be held outside?
Yes. Outdoor learning spaces will be utilized when possible and when appropriate for the learning environment.
Will all students be given Chromebooks?
The district has been 1 to 1 with Chromebooks at the high school for the past 5 years and at the middle school for the past 4 years. Starting in September we will also be 1 to 1 for 3rd - 5th grade students. Furthermore, principals will work with parents in Kindergarten - 2nd to address any technological needs. Elementary principals will be providing more information regarding Chromebooks in the coming weeks.
What did we learn from the Spring 2020 and what will change in September 2020 with regards to online learning?
A lot was learned over the last three months with regards to teaching in a total virtual environment. Best practices have been shared and over the month of August staff will have professional learning opportunities to create curriculum, refine their virtual teaching practices, and work with colleagues to create lessons that will meet students needs. As we have been able to learn from our time in extended closure, our ability to implement virtual learning has grown. Our use of digital tools and live, synchronous instruction has grown as well. Through professional development and experiences last Spring we are confident in our ability to meet our students learning needs virtually.
How will IEPs be fully satisfied with the different schedules?
Special education services, including replacement classes, self-contained classes and in-class support classes will continue to function as they would following the new student’s schedule. Related services will be scheduled once the students attending in person instruction and the students attending virtual instruction are known. Case managers will work with parents related to each child’s needs.
Will my child with an IEP still receive services if I choose the virtual option?
Yes. Case managers will contact families who select the virtual option to communicate how IEP services will be delivered.
What are the procedures and safety measures for the bus?
Since social distancing is not possible on the school bus, therefore face coverings will be required. Cleaning and sanitizing procedures will be implemented in accordance with the guidelines.
ATHLETICS, CO-CURRICULARS, FIELD TRIPS, USE OF FACILITIES
Will there be field trips?
To start the school year there will not be any field trips. This will be reviewed as the school year progresses but a safe assumption will be that there will not be any field trips for the foreseeable future.
What about athletics?
For HS sports, we will follow all the guidelines from the NJSIAA. Our Fall pre-season is scheduled to start on September 14th and games will begin the week of September 28th . We are currently working on new Fall schedules and more details will follow. Here is an update letter that was shared last week - Update Fall/Summer 2020 WHS Athletics Parent/Athlete Letter. MS sports for the Fall will be determined at a later date this summer.
Can outside groups use school facilities?
Following the NJDOE guidelines, to start the school year, no outside groups will be able to use any indoor school facilities. Groups can request to use outside school facilities and these requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis.