February 2021 Community Letter from Dr. Foley
February 19, 2021
Dear GTSD Families,
The Greenwich Township School District has been implementing our Restart and Recovery Plan to Reopen Schools since the start of the 2020-2021 school year. The goal of our plan has always been to offer students and employees with a safe and healthy environment and the learning conditions that would allow us to provide the best educational experience possible during this pandemic. We believe that the careful development and the consistent implementation of the precautions in place has supported our success to date as we have identified zero COVID-19 transmissions or outbreaks occurring within our school buildings despite concerning COVID-19 data rates outside of our schools. Thank you to all of our faculty, staff, students, and community members who have faithfully observed recommended health and safety guidelines. It is only through these efforts that we have been able to consistently maintain our learning plan without break.
We also recognize that we continue to face challenges and obstacles as we work to successfully complete this school year. Chief among our concerns are those individual students who are struggling with mental health issues. If you feel that your child is suffering undue stress, anxiety, or other adverse childhood experience, please reach out to your building guidance counselor or case manager for aid and support. They can provide a variety of resources, including access to private, free-of-charge counseling for your child through our partnership with Acenda.
For other students, this year has presented academic challenges. All parents can regularly monitor their child’s progress by utilizing provided OnCourse logins to view grades, calendars, and assignments. Additionally, parents can support student achievement by encouraging:
- Regular attendance on hybrid learning days
- Active engagement in virtual lessons
- Participation during scheduled office hours
- Full completion of academic assignments
Student attendance will be determined based on a review of these criteria in total. Students who do not meet a significant portion of these expectations will be marked absent. We encourage you to reach out to your child’s individual teachers regarding their academic progress.
The District currently offers academic remediation opportunities during the school day and this will continue throughout the remainder of the school year. In addition to this program, the District will be offering an after-school credit recovery program that will provide targeted assistance for those students identified as having failed a course in core content areas for Marking Periods 1 and 2. Credit Recovery teachers will be available in real-time to review material, answer questions, and provide virtual assistance, as necessary. Work assigned by Credit Recovery teachers will be monitored and graded so that credit can be awarded. Credit Recovery provides an opportunity for students to earn back credits for failed class(es) and ultimately, pass the course for the indicated marking period. Credit will only be awarded to students who attend the required Zoom meetings and complete the required coursework. Please reach out to your building guidance counselor for more information regarding this program.
Typically, during the fourth marking period, the District administers required state assessments. The New Jersey Department of Education has published a schedule for these standardized assessments. The DOE has announced that they will be requesting a waiver from the federal government to suspend testing for this year. We continue to prepare for them as directed, but we will provide our community any updates regarding this matter if or when we are notified of any changes.
We are developing contingency plans for 4th marking period in the event that health and safety conditions warrant a change. No decisions regarding any possible changes, including further opening school, have been made at this time. As we continue to implement our Restart and Recovery Plan, please be aware that we will not be scheduling large group activities such as concerts/assemblies or taking field trips under current health indicators, CDC/DOH guidelines, and executive orders from Governor Murphy. Faculty and staff at Nehaunsey Middle School are exploring options for 8th grade graduation, but any planned activity will be based on COVID-19 activity, CDC/Dept. of Health guidelines, Governor’s orders, and the health and safety of our students. No final decisions have been made at this time.
We have also begun preliminary planning for the 2021-2022 school year. It is our hope that our September 2021 school opening will follow a traditional schedule and allow for full student enrollment and engagement. This spring, we will be ready to enroll kindergarten students for the 2021-2022 school year. Please check our website for required paperwork. We plan to offer a return of our inclusive pre-school program; registration for that program will not be held, however, until conditions support its return.