Hoboken Public Schools to Push Back In-Person Instruction to September 21st

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School openings are getting closer and closer as September approaches, and the Hoboken Public Schools announced in-person instruction set to resume this fall, along with a fully virtual option for families that choose to do so. But for students and parents that were set on returning to school in the fall, plans have been delayed a few weeks. In an email sent out to parents on August 19th, Hoboken Public Schools announced they’d be pushing back in-person instruction two weeks to September 21.

hoboken schools in-person learning september 21

As of August 19, Hoboken Public Schools released a letter to Hoboken parents on their website, stating the in-person opening would be pushed back to September 21, 2020.

The update on the website stated:

All teachers and staff members will spend four days, from Tuesday, September 8th through Friday, September 11th, preparing for the new school year. Principals will lead training sessions and walk all staff through critical functions and schedules pertaining to their classrooms and the school.

All students (whether full-day traditional onsite learning or remote learning) will begin school on Monday, September 14th remotely, and will remain on remote learning for the remainder of the week until Friday, September 18th. Parents/students will receive a schedule to join Google Meet sessions to join their classmates and teacher(s).

During these sessions, students will get to know one another and their teacher(s). There will be ice breakers and an introduction to subjects and what will be learned throughout the year. Materials and the use of technology will be reviewed. For older students, course outlines and expectations will be reviewed. For younger students, mini-lessons will be delivered.

All students will also be presented with activities to address social and emotional learning. Students will have a chance to meet their principal, vice principal, guidance counselors, and other support staff. In addition, small groups of parents/students will be given a time to come into the classroom and see the desk shields and review things such as hand washing and bathroom schedules, as well as face-covering guidelines. Arrival and dismissal procedures will be reviewed as well.

This will be done for all families regardless of whether or not onsite learning was selected. We want to be sure that remote learners will be ready for onsite learning when the time comes, and that onsite learners will be able to transition to remote learning if needed. *On Monday, September 21st all students will begin either with their selected full-day onsite traditional learning model or full-day remote learning model.

 

As of July 29, Hoboken Public Schools released a letter to Hoboken parents detailing the virtual options, as well as in-person, which stated the following:

Dear Hoboken Public School District Parents and Guardians,

After months of intense planning, the Hoboken Public School District is proud to share our plans for the reopening of school on September 8, 2020. At this time, we are offering families a choice to select a Full Day Traditional Onsite Learning Model (Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.). This model employs stringent health and safety protocols both inside and outside of our classrooms. Families who are not comfortable sending their child(ren) back to school, may opt for a Full Day Remote Learning Model. We heard your input and feedback and created an improved model with added features. 

Plan released for Remote Learning option: CLICK HERE

Plan released for In-Person option: CLICK HERE

A response for what each family will choose for their children is due by August 7th.

Click here for more info on about what reopening plans mean for each school and grade.

 

The Five-Phase Plan

Hoboken Schools Superintendent Christine Johnson released a statement on in June laying out the district’s five-phase planning process. According to her statement, meeting social distancing guidelines in classrooms and common spaces set by the DOE necessitates a smaller footprint of students each day at all school locations.

“As the Hoboken Public School District moves forward, I know that our plan has to be elastic and take into account the opinions and feelings of our students, parents, and staff. And, before we even begin, we all must agree that both compromise and flexibility are essential. There will not be a plan that is perfect for everyone. But, the best way to start our process is simply to survey our families and staff members,” the statement read.

Here’s the five-phase plan will start to play out:

  1. A preliminary, non-binding survey to all families and staff in order to establish a potential teaching and learning footprint in each school and grade level {June 30th – July 6th};
  2. Committee formation, roles of members and subcommittees, tasks, and timelines {July 7th & 8th};
  3. Subcommittee work and recommendations in the areas of Governance and Personnel, Facilities and Operations, Health and Wellness, Teaching and Learning, and Finance {July 9th – July 17th};
  4. Distribution of the Hoboken Public School District’s draft plan and a final survey to all families and staff {July 18th – July 27th};
  5. Publication of the Hoboken Public School District’s final plan {July 28th}.

Watch Governor Murphy’s full press conferen

Crafting a Logistical {but Flexible} Plan

As students look forward to summer camps and no homework, parents received a survey in their mailboxes. We reached out to Superintendent of Hoboken Schools Christine Johnson as well as Kate DeCock, Board Member of the Hoboken Public Education Foundation to get more information regarding a timeline and plan of action.

Kate explained that there were surveys sent out in June regarding scheduling for the fall. “The non-binding surveys [sent out last week] let parents state their preferred in-class/remote learning schedules. This feedback [was] integral for creating the back to school plan,” DeCock said to Hoboken Girl via email.

Read More: A Guide to Virtual Summer Camps for Kids

“Every school district is required to assemble committees in order to design their reopening plan,” Superintendent Johnson explained to us, noting that at the top is an executive committee that includes the superintendent, senior administrators, and board members, with six subcommittees: Governance and Personnel, Teaching and Learning, Finance, Facilities and Operations, Health and Wellness, and Preschool.

“Each subcommittee will consist of teachers, staff, principals, and parents,” Johnson noted to Hoboken Girl via email. “Throughout the process, all staff members and parents will be surveyed to respect their opinions and help guide each committee’s work.”

Top of mind for Superintendent Johnson?  “I am concerned about the social and emotional wellbeing of our staff, students, and families,” she remarked. “It has been a period of anxiety and uncertainty for many and I must make sure that those feelings are not lost in a logistical plan.”

What to Expect

The executive and subcommittees will tackle “macro level” and “micro level” challenges, the superintendent also explained. From creating a safe environment to developing sanitizing and disinfecting schedules and ensuring social distance is observed during dismissal, nothing is off the table.

The process will involve a great deal of deliberation but will be fast-paced, she detailed. Phase fivepublication of the final reopening plan—was set for the end of July, but has been updated with these new mid-August in-person updates. The pressing question on every parent’s mind, however, is of course, “Will my child be safe?”

“My personal opinion is that with the proper guidelines and protocols in place, children will be safe in school,” DeCock, a Hoboken Public School parent and board member continued. “But every parent has to make that decision for their own family. We all need to honor and respect each other’s individual decisions.”

“There has to be a base of trust to begin with,” explained the superintendent. “I have to be as transparent as possible so that families can make the best decision for their children. My plan must be tight. My administrators and staff must be ready to implement it with fidelity and my communication with families must be consistent and ongoing. Everyone’s voice matters.”

See More: A Local Principal Shares Her Experience Leading School Virtually This Year

Plans for school reopening are just the latest in a series of measures as Hoboken slowly starts to open its doors, promote local businesses, and ease social distancing regulations. And while we can be sure of few things these days, one thing seems certain: students will be returning to school in September as long as things continue to progress. Whether or not all students can return to the classroom {and stay there} still remains to be seen.

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Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HobokenGirl.com. With deep entrepreneurial roots in Hudson County — as her grandparents owned textile businesses on Tonnelle Ave in North Bergen dating back to the 50s — she started the site as a Hoboken resident to discover the amazing things happening in the area. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her two pups, or watching Bravo TV and ordering takeout with her husband.