NB's Strategic Plan for a Safe and Successful School Year

Superintendent’s Message: July 27, 2020

As we prepare for the 2020-2021 school year, there are two things that are certain. First, the 2020-2021 school year will look and feel quite different than any other. Second, as we take this journey on “The Road Back” we all must prepare for inevitable changes. As COVID-19 conditions develop and the guidance from the Governor and health authorities evolves, we must all be prepared to modify our schedules and programs to best serve our students and our community.

Since mid March, when the Governor first closed our schools to all students, this pandemic has required us to reimagine our teaching strategies and learning initiatives. Three months later, after the school year had ended in June, the Governor and Department of Education provided a ‘Roadmap” to guide all New Jersey school districts in developing teaching strategies and district policies to allow for a safe return to in-person teaching and learning for all students. The NB Board of Education, together with the administration, faculty, and support staff, are fully committed to doing this with equity, safety, and compassion. NB’s Plan reflects several months of working with faculty, parents, and public health experts and listening to the ideas and feedback of our families, school leaders, teachers, staff, students and stakeholders. In essence, we have reimagined and reinvented how instruction is to be delivered.

It is appropriate for me to recognize the level of professionalism and compassion demonstrated by our administration, faculty, and support staff from the moment our schools closed in March. Everyone joined together to close the 2019-2020 school successfully. We all wanted all our students to find success in the 100% virtual instructional environment we all were suddenly charged with delivering to our students. I also want to recognize the tremendous commitment made by our families to support the schools. The entire school community wanted our seniors in the class of 2020 to leave with positive memories and a memorable Graduation Ceremony on July 8th. The day after graduation, the work began to prepare for reopening schools in September.

The NB Reopening Task Force (RTF) has focused our energy on developing a hybrid model to provide in-person instruction to our students. We have also worked to strengthen our 100% virtual model and we are now preparing to deliver these two models of instruction simultaneously. Pause to reflect on this. Consider the challenges that are ahead of us all and be prepared to work cooperatively with teachers to successfully manage this new reality.

Starting with the first day of school in September, all students are expected to participate in learning five days per week. Many of our families have selected the hybrid model of in-person instruction while others have selected the 100% virtual model of instruction. Although this will present challenges for teachers, students, and parents, NB is prepared to work with each family and each student.

Moreover, NB has enhanced cleaning protocols for our schools and busses, and extensive safety measures will be in place to promote healthy learning and work environments for everyone. As we open in September, everyone will be required to wear face coverings, adhere to frequent hand washing routines, practice social distancing, and follow all health and safety protocols, including staying home if you are sick, exhibiting symptoms, or have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

To keep our parents and our community informed, the district has established this web page dedicated to posting up-to-date information on NB’s Strategic Plan for a safe and successful school year. As the status of the virus changes, updates will be posted here. We will also maintain the FAQ section and as questions arise, please look to the FAQ section for answers.

The Board of Education has worked tirelessly to support the effort and the entire NB Nation has risen to the challenges. I commend our administration, faculty, and support staff for all that has been accomplished to prepare for the return to in-person education in September. Our Reopening Task Force has delivered a plan that will focus on the health and well-being of all who enter our schools. Moreover, this plan will challenge our students academically and provide support for them emotionally. Together with NB’s Reopening Task Force and the Board of Education, this administration has engineered a reopening plan that will serve as our roadmap and guide us through the 2020-2021 school year. We believe that by working together, we can continue to provide the excellence in education all have come to expect from NB schools.

James Sarruda, Ed. D.