March 31, 2021
Dear NB Families:
As we prepare for the warmer weather and our spring break, I am pleased to provide some important program updates for the 4th marking period. At this time, the Burlington County Department of Health is recommending that schools move to a 100% remote instruction model following the spring break, and return to in-person instruction on April 19th. This recommendation is guided by the increased COVID activity rates in the region. After careful consideration of this recommendation, and upon further review of the COVID activity levels in our region, please note that the Northern Burlington County Regional School District students will move to the 100% remote learning model after the spring break. NB students will return to the in-person hybrid learning model on Monday, April 19th. As always, we strongly encourage everyone to practice all mitigation strategies to control the spread of COVID and be vigilant over the upcoming spring break.
The 4th marking period begins on Monday, April 19th and in preparation for the 4th Marking Period, we asked our families to complete a survey and indicate their preference for either the in-person hybrid learning model or the 100% remote learning model. We have gathered the information from the survey, and we are now prepared to outline our plan for the 4th marking period.
The results of the survey indicate that approximately 50% of our families would prefer their child(ren) return to school for maximum in-person instruction even if six feet social distancing cannot be achieved. With this information, we are pleased to advise our families that the district will be increasing student opportunities to attend in-person instruction for those families who have indicated this preference on the parent survey. We will implement the six feet social distancing recommendation to our maximum extent practicable and we will continue to closely monitor the COVID activity in our region. With increased access to vaccinations, it seems we are making significant progress on our journey toward returning to normalcy. Again, we must continue to be vigilant.
For the 4th Marking Period, NB will adjust our current Hybrid schedule to increase in-person instruction. Beginning Monday, April 19th, Cohort AB, Cohort CD and Cohort F will be collapsed into one Hybrid Cohort that reports to school for in-person instruction four days per week. All students who choose in-person instruction will be expected to report all four days. Students who wish to continue in a virtual environment or switch to a virtual schedule may do so. However, once a family decides to move to 100% virtual instruction, this choice will be for the remainder of the school year.
While the current schedule for remote instruction on Wednesdays will continue for now, adjustments to increase in-person instructional time are being planned. This includes changing the remote Wednesday to an in-person day so that we can increase to five days of in-person instruction per week for Hybrid students beginning the week of May 10th. Please carefully review our 4th marking period calendar which is posted on our website.
The decision to increase in-person instruction to four days a week is guided by several critical indicators including the COVID activity rates, recent changes to the social distancing guidelines provided from the Department of Health, the availability of vaccinations for all school employees, and our most recent survey results.
We recognize the significant toll the past year has had on our students, families, faculty, and staff. Even when a pivot is necessary, our administrative team and teachers continue to analyze student performance data and plan for improvements to curriculum, instruction, and pacing. Your continued patience in these matters is very much appreciated. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Principal, teachers, or counselor. Moreover, please note that the Child Study Team will work with individual parents who want to request adjustments to their child's schedule. Please contact your case manager directly.
NB’s mitigation efforts have been largely successful. Our morning screening protocols have allowed us to screen everyone who comes on to our campus each day. In addition, mandatory mask wearing for all students and employees combined with social distancing efforts, proper hand hygiene, and reduced opportunities to congregate have resulted in zero in-school person-to-person COVID transmissions. We are confident that we are able to maintain a healthy school environment if we continue to implement multiple mitigation measures.
In addition, as we monitor the COVID activity rates in our region, we are prepared to move to 3’ social distancing if the region moves to the ‘moderate’ range. We were in the ‘moderate’ range for several weeks in March. Unfortunately, our region just moved back to the ‘high’ range last week. We hope to return to the ‘moderate’ range soon. Certainly, our health and safety measures will remain intact should we adjust social distancing measures from “minimally six feet” to “minimally three feet.” Again, we will continue to implement the proper social distancing to the maximum extent practicable.
Finally, please note that the district will continue to monitor the situation as we adjust to this new structure. Your continued patience in these matters is very much appreciated. Again, if you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Principal, teachers, or counselor.
Dr. James Sarruda,
Superintendent of Schools