Hoboken Public School District
Special Edition of The Herald #3 - March 11, 2020
As you know, the news media is sharing continuous updates regarding the Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19). As parents and guardians, this information can be worrisome and may evoke many questions. I would like to address attendance in this special edition.
In schools across the state, parents and guardians are taking their children out of school. I am beginning to see this in Hoboken. While it is a parent choice, I urge you to consider the following (based on information provided by the City's Department of Health and Human Services):
- There still not yet been a positive case of the Coronavirus in Hoboken, nor in our schools;
- It may take months for the Coronavirus to run its course, if and when it presents itself in Hoobken;
- The impact of the Coronavirus on children is not seen as high risk.
With that being said, pulling children from school at this time could result in months of lost instructional time. In addition, unless the entire home is being quarantined for the entire duration of the child(ren) being out of school, the risk of contracting the Coronavirus is not eliminated. Therefore, a trip to the grocery store or even deliveries to the home, going to work or taking a child for a walk to the park negates the purpose of removing a child or children from school at this time.
At today's City Task Force Meeting, the Department of Health and Human Services continued to stress hand washing and respiratory etiquette.
In terms of absences, the district has not been issued a notice to close. Therefore we are open. Absences cannot and are not excused at this time. The NJ Department of Education does not allow for this provision. Absences of 10 or more days must result in disenrollment. This is required by the NJ Department of Education for all children in grades PK through 12. A child would need to re-enroll upon return. If and only if a notice to close is issued, the district would activate it's "remote learning" plan for academic lessons to be done at home by children. It would only be in that instance that days would be counted for all students and the district.
How would a notice to close be issued? It is a decision that is made collaboratively and in consultation with local, regional and state departments of health and the city's office of emergency management. As I indicated prior, there is no recommendation at this time from the local department of health and human services to close our schools.
As a reminder, the NJ Department of Health does not recommend school closure for outbreaks of infectious disease. The decision to close a school is a local decision and one that is to be made only after consultation with public health officials and the district medical personnel. Our schools will work with local health departments to ensure that recommended control measures (e.g., exclusions, increased cleaning) are being followed. In addition, the local health department in conjunction with NJ Department of Health may recommend enhanced protocols be conducted to monitor the progression and ultimate decline of an outbreak. If necessary, school closure should be utilized on a limited basis to prevent spread of infection when:
1. Infections are expected to affect large number of susceptible individuals
2. Recommended control measures are inadequate
3. The facility is unable to function due to increased illness affecting students and staff
4. The health department declares an epidemic or cause of ill health to be injurious or hazardous In the case of public schools, the local health department may serve notice of closure recommendation to district board of education. The local health department has the authority to close child care centers.
If the district were to close, as a result of a notice, we have our "remote learning" plan in place, along with provisions to distribute breakfast and lunch to our free and reduced lunch population.
In closing, there is no question that you should be concerned about asking. Our school nurses are extremely knowledgeable and willing to answer any health related questions that you may have. Please feel free to reach out to me to ask any logistical or policy related questions.
Hoboken Public Schools - A District Dedicated to Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships
The Hoboken Public School District will be recognized as a premier educational choice and widely known as a best-practice model for academic growth, high quality instruction, innovative and equitable programs, engagement, facilities and personalized pathways that are essential for college, career and life-preparedness in our ever-changing, interconnected global society.
The Hoboken Public School District will prepare confident and resilient graduates who value academic achievement, embrace challenge, honor diversity, appreciate collaboration, and respectfully contribute to their local and wider communities.
Our District Goals
The Hoboken Public School District will implement a rigorous, relevant and responsive curriculum that meets the needs of all students, fosters personalized pathways for learning, and ensures continuous academic growth.
The Hoboken Public School District will support its diverse staff in professional growth, encourage them to serve as role models, and empower them to provide the highest quality of instruction for our students.
The Hoboken Public School District will develop and implement unique and innovative programs that promote global learning, ensure equitable access, and foster the social, emotional and academic growth of each student.
The Hoboken Public School District will engage and communicate with families and the wider community to bridge understanding and advance partnerships.
The Hoboken Public School District will operate well-maintained and safe facilities that respond to our growing student enrollment, support our academic and co-curricular programs, and promote pride across the city.