Hopatcong School District – Update on COVID Closure – Reopening monitored Day-to-Day

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On November 18. 2020 Superintendent Mr. Arthur DiBenedetto and Assistant Superintendent Mr. Joseph S. Piccirillo provided background information on Hopatcong School District (HSD) moving to Remote Learning, and when reopening plans may take place.

History of HSD Start of School Year:

Right from the start of the 2020/2021 school year the Superintendents and multiple external advisors sought to reopen the school, allowing the parents to select the model for the returning student (Virtual, ½ Days or full time for some classes.

During the first 45 days of operations under this model, things ran smoothly with almost no COVID cases being reported. Which allowed the district to seek to bring the students back more full-time.

What Happened to move to 100% Virtual?

After the 45 days of the opening of the school and seeing little evidence of COVID, the HSD recently had six cases (Two teachers, Four Students) that were all unrelated in the environment, and physical contact with each other. Since all cases have to be reported to the health department, this rapid outbreak would push the HSD from the Yellow to Orange COVID warning level.

To ensure both the health of the teachers and students the HSD decided to move back to virtual education, which will be reviewed on a day-to-day basis on when it is safe to reopen. Both Superintendents believe that this is a short-term solution.

When will the School Reopen?

As expressed in the video interview Assistant Superintendent Mr. Joseph S. Piccirillo outlined why they are unable to set a timeline for a reopening at this time. First, there is the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, where regardless of the State Governors advice, more people with have contact with more people, which could increase the COVID spread.

Both Superintendents will be watching the trends on a day-to-day basis to look for each day as an opportunity to reopen the schools.

Next Steps:

  • There will be a meeting of New Jersey School Superintendents on Friday, where they will learn more information, which they will make available
  • The HSD anticipates that if trends continue, New Jersey may move to a red COCID status by the Governor that may dictate when a reopening is possible.

Positive News from HSD:

  • The Nurses from the HSD have done an outstanding job on the handling of this pandemic
  • Snow Days will still be virtual learning days, which means that the district does not lose days
  • Teachers have new plans and platforms available to make report learning more interesting and interactive.
  • Work continues on the HSD on the new track, tennis courts, and multiple other areas of improvement across the district
  • Hudson Maxim School will be up for auction in early February without a cost to taxpayers

 

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