Home COVID-19 Hoboken Schools Set Plans to Reopen in September

Hoboken Schools Set Plans to Reopen in September

by Alena Competello
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School is out for the summer, but Hoboken Public Schools are using the break to prepare for in-person instruction set to resume this fall. On Friday, June 26th, Governor Murphy announced the release of the Department of Education {DOE} guidelines to help school districts craft their individualized plans to reopen classrooms for the 2020-2021 academic year. “We just concluded the most unprecedented school year in the most unprecedented of times,” Murphy said. The start of this coming school year will also be quite different. “There will be no one-size-fits-all approach,” Governor Murphy noted.  And, if COVID-19 spikes in the fall, schools may revert back to all remote learning. In the meantime, the district is preparing for students to attend class in-person with an option to opt for remote learning as well. Here’s what to know about Hoboken’s five-phase approach:

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As of July 29, Hoboken Public Schools released a letter to Hoboken parents, 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. 

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Plan released for Remote Learning option: CLICK HERE

Plan released for In-Person option: CLICK HERE

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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 will be 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 be involve a great deal of deliberation but will be fast-paced, she detailed. Phase fivepublication of the final reopening planis set for the end of July. 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.

Got a news tip? Let us know — email us at [email protected]! We appreciate it.

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