July 12, 2021

Gloucester Township Schools Planning to Reopen School, Outline Plan For Safe Reopening

The Gloucester Township K-8 Public School District's plans for a Safe Return To School promotes a resumption of normal operations while following the state's guidelines for masking and social distancing, said John Bilodeau in his letter to parents.

The district formed a "Road Forward Committee," which has begun planning for the 2021-22 academic year after Gov. Phil Murphy announced that all New Jersey school districts must return to a full in-person learning model with no remote option. Read more here: NJ Lifts COVID Travel Advisory, Orders In-Person School Next Year

"I am confident that the plans will offer educational excellence, flexibility, and options to rapidly adjust to unforeseen circumstances related to the potential change in school operations," Bilodeau said. "Our Road Forward plans will continue to be revised over the next several weeks, however, we expect that our initial draft plan provides the foundational expectations we foresee during the 2021-2022 school year."

Schools will open for students, but there are no guarantees.

To protect the health of those with conditions that make them more susceptible to coronavirus, remote instruction may be offered in case they need to quarantine themselves because of this virus.

Students returning to school in the fall will have the option of wearing face coverings, although all students and staff who haven't yet been vaccinated will be encouraged to do so.

Masks are required for all passengers on buses as part of an order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

When you're in the classroom, it's important to maintain a distance of 3 feet from any other person. However, that may not be possible in some cases. So when there are no alternatives and we need people close together for class activities or lunchtime food service, supplemental barriers will provide additional protection against exposure to contagious germs like colds and flu bugs.

The district will continue to follow enhanced cleaning procedures established during the pandemic including the daily disinfection of school buses each evening.Gloucester Township Schools Planning to Reopen School, Outline Plan For Safe Reopening

The district is always looking for ways to improve. It just announced they will be working on new guidelines and requirements in the summer months ahead, and are taking input from community members through a survey. The website link with all of this information can be found here!

"Early Childhood education is a unique experience in which much of the instruction takes the form of social and relational learning during play and group interactions," officials said. "Students learn to share and communicate wants and needs through cooperation and close play in 'centers' and other interactive activities. During hybrid instruction last year, many of these activities were eliminated or significantly altered to accommodate social distancing and other pandemic protocols."

The district is considering preschool and kindergarten as well, so they're taking feedback from the community via a survey here.

In evaluating how to move ahead, the district said it would prefer to allow students to:

  • sit at tables, facing each other;
  • sit in circle time on the carpet in the room; and
  • have more freedom to move around at "centers," without limiting contact with other students.

"We would continue to implement as many of the health and safety protocols as we can outside of these considerations," officials said. This would include frequent cleaning of toys and other high-touch surfaces, as well as frequent handwashing and hand sanitizing. All other daily district cleaning protocols will be in place in addition to any early childhood specific cleaning protocols."

The district has also posted consideration for preschool and kindergarten students and is seeking feedback from the community on these points as well. They are doing this by having a survey that can be found here.

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