Morris School District updates September reopening plans

Plan for MHS and FMS reopening in September, from the Morris School District.
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The Morris School District on Saturday released its pandemic plans for reopening on Sept. 8, 2020.

Highlights:

  • PreK will be a hybrid schedule: Two days of classes, three days of remote.
  • K5 will operate with staggered openings, between 8:30 and and 9 am, and staggered departures starting at 1 pm, for the first marking period; no in-school lunches will be served. Students will come to school Monday through Friday.
  • At Frelinghuysen Middle School and Morristown High, half the student population will attend in-school sessions for two straight days, while the other half follows along at home, online. Then students will reverse roles.
  • Families who opt for all-virtual instruction for their children must apply by Aug. 10, and commit to staying all-virtual through Nov. 13.
  • K-12 families eligible for school busing are asked to complete a survey by Aug. 3 so the district can plan accordingly. Given the large number of students involved, the district doubts it can maintain six-foot social distancing on buses.
  • More guidance on Special Education is anticipated shortly.

 

From the Morris School District:

AUGUST 1, 2020

This is a comprehensive, detailed update on the MSD Reopening Plan by grade level, with multiple links to presentations and forms. Please read it carefully, and be sure to note any deadlines that pertain to you (e.g. Busing Commitment Survey and All-Virtual Enrollment Form). If you have any questions about the information contained in this update, please contact your child’s principal.

PreK

Thank you for your patience as we worked collaboratively with our preschool providers and state and local officials to create a plan for our preschool program. Please click here for a detailed letter explaining our reopening approach.

K-5

We continue to plan for all elementary students to attend school in person Monday through Friday. This arrangement preserves continuity of instruction and, as we learned through feedback from our families, will assist working parents. Implementing six feet of social distancing along with masks at all times, hand washing/hand sanitizing multiple times a day, and vigorous cleaning protocols, among other measures, will help us establish a safe and healthy environment for the students and staff in our buildings.

However, a confluence of factors–including staffing needs, unpredictable state funding and other financial considerations such as an increase in transportation costs, and additional risk mitigation, as well as external conditions related to the current transmission rate of the coronavirus in NJ–has resulted in an important schedule change: school reopening for all K-5 schools will now follow a two-phase approach, with an early dismissal and no in-school lunch during the first marking period. 

  • Phase 1: September 8-November 13
    • Arrival: The instructional day will begin at approximately 9:00 am; arrival times will be staggered between 8:30 and 9:00 am to facilitate safe entry into the building. Precise arrival times will be communicated later in August.
    • Dismissal: The instructional day will end at approximately 1:00 pm; bus departures and pickups will begin at that time, again on a staggered schedule. Sunset (after school care) will be offered upon dismissal (please see below).
    • NO LUNCH WILL BE SERVED during the school day. Students will have a snack during one of their breaks, outdoors whenever possible and with all safety and hygiene precautions in place. “Grab and Go” lunches will be provided at dismissal time for students who receive Free and Reduced Lunch. Sunset will begin immediately after dismissal; those students who stay for Sunset will receive Grab and Go lunches as well.
  • Phase 2: Beginning November 16
    • Arrival: We expect that arrival times and procedures will remain the same as above.
    • Dismissal: If Phase 1 implementation is successful as outlined above, and if both internal and external conditions allow, we will expand the school day to approximately 5.5 hours.
    • Lunch will be served during the school day, with all safety and hygiene precautions in place.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: The MSD Community School is planning to offer both Sunrise and Sunset (before and after school care) at all seven elementary schools, beginning with the first day of school. Unlike previous years, Sunrise will not be held at “sister” schools due to busing limitations. However, as these programs are completely supported by tuition, they can only operate if minimum registrations–by school and program–are received. All MSD families have received 2020-2021 registration materials by mail, and they are also available on the Community School website. While we continue to plan, we ask that you complete the forms now so that we can begin the registration process. As more details become available, we will notify registered families and update the Community School website.
  • All-Virtual Option: Please review this slide presentation that explains K-5 Connections, our all-virtual learning pathway for elementary students. Click here for a translation in Spanish. If you prefer to listen to a recording of the presentation with voiceover in Spanish, please click here. Both the English version and the Spanish version without voiceover include a link at the bottom of the last slide that directs you to our K-5 All-Virtual Instruction Enrollment Form. The links are also provided below.
  • Families who opt for K-5 Connections, our all-virtual option for students in grades K-5, must complete an enrollment form by 5:00 pm on August 10 and will be asked to commit to this option until November 13, 2020, the end of the first marking period.
    • If you wish to switch to in-person learning for the second marking period (which begins November 16, 2020), you must notify your child’s school at least four weeks in advance.
    • Students in K-5 Connections can still participate in any extracurricular activities that are offered after school; however, the District will not provide transportation from students’ homes back to the school.
    • Please contact your school principal if you have any questions about K-5 Connections.

K-5 ALL-VIRTUAL ENROLLMENT FORM IN ENGLISH

K-5 ALL-VIRTUAL ENROLLMENT FORM IN SPANISH

Video: Morristown High and Frelinghuysen Middle School reopening plans:

FMS/MHS

  • Please watch this video presentation by Principal Manning and Principal Uglialoro outlining how the instructional schedule of our 50/50 Hybrid Model will operate when schools reopen in September. Click here for the video presentation in Spanish, which includes voiceover narration in Spanish. The video also covers information on Enhanced Virtual Learning, our all-virtual option for students in grades 6-12. Please see links to the All-Virtual Enrollment Form below.
    • Our schedule follows the familiar pattern of A Day, B Day, A Day, B Day, etc.
    • 50% of the student body attends in-person instruction in the school building for two successive days while the other 50% accesses instruction virtually through Google Meet. The two cohorts of students then switch.
    • Each class meeting will simultaneously include both in-person students and virtual students, all of whom are engaging in the same instruction at the same time.
    • Teachers will be logged into Google Meet from their classrooms so that the cohort at home can view instruction and follow along. Using screen sharing, videos, document cameras, and other methods, teachers will keep all students connected to learning and to each other, whether they are accessing instruction in school or at home.
  • This infographic provides a visual overview of our 50/50 Hybrid Model for FMS and MHS, as described above. Please click here for the Spanish version.
  • Families who opt for Enhanced Virtual Learning, our all-virtual option for students in grades 6-12, must complete an enrollment form by 5:00 pm on August 10 and will be asked to commit to this option until November 13, 2020, the end of the first marking period.  
    • If you wish to switch to the 50/50 Hybrid Model for the second marking period (which begins November 16, 2020), you must notify your child’s school at least four weeks in advance.
    • Students in Enhanced Virtual Learning can still participate in any extracurricular activities, including sports, that are offered after school; however, the District will not provide transportation from students’ homes back to the school.
    • Please contact your child’s principal if you have any questions about Enhanced Virtual Learning.

6-12 ALL-VIRTUAL ENROLLMENT FORM IN ENGLISH

6-12 ALL-VIRTUAL ENROLLMENT FORM IN SPANISH

Busing Commitment Letter and Survey

  • All K-12 families who are eligible for bus transportation were sent a letter from the MSD Office of the Business Administrator with a link to complete a busing commitment survey. Preschool families will be sent a similar survey once our preschool plans are in place. If you are eligible for busing, please be sure to complete the survey by August 3 so that we can finalize transportation needs as soon as possible.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Our planned 25% reduction in capacity (total number of students riding each bus) will enable us to seat students at some social distance; certainly, the fewer the number of students who ride each bus, the more distance we can create between them. However, it is unlikely that we will be able to maintain a full six feet of social distancing between bus riders, given the anticipated number of students requiring transportation. Once again, all students must wear a mask on the bus. We have collaborated with our local health department and have followed guidance from the NJ Department of Education in devising our transportation plan, as we have with all other decisions regarding school reopening.

Special Education

  • The Director of Pupil Services will be sending out communication shortly regarding a series of upcoming town hall meetings on special education matters.

ALSO ON MORRISTOWN GREEN:

Morris School District teachers, county association, say September reopening too risky

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