Loading

MTPS Update: December 9, 2020 COVID-19

MTPS Update

I previously communicated that my next update would be sent by Wednesday, December 9th. I wanted to stay true to that timeframe. This week, we held a nurses' meeting, an administrators' meeting, and a meeting of the Overall MTPS Pandemic Committee.
After thoughtful consideration and many discussions, MTPS will continue to be virtual with an anticipated return date of Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

Summary

I realize that our current state of the world brings many viewpoints. I want you to fully understand mine as the superintendent. This decision is not made lightly, and there are many factors involved in the decision. This decision is based on the current COVID-19 level of community and county spread and the guidelines and recommendations of the New Jersey Department of Health. Most importantly, it is based upon the safety of our students and staff. To date, we have had 62 positive cases and over 500 individuals quarantined.
As of now, the district will remain on full virtual learning until the public health situation abates and allows for a safe return to in-person learning. This will mean the district will reevaluate for an opening for January 19, 2021. The date of Tuesday, January 19th was decided upon because it is more than 14 days past the last day of winter recess. The last day of winter recess is Sunday, January 3, 2021. Fourteen (14) days after January 3, 2021 is Sunday, January 17th. Our next regularly scheduled day is Tuesday, January 19th. That is why we chose the 19th as the next transition point.
Even though there has been discussion from the CDC regarding lowering the amount of days for a quarantine in specific cases, the New Jersey Department of Health continues to recommend quarantine for 14 days to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19. MTPS fully agrees, and we will continue to use 14 days as the standard for quarantine to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

Background

Monmouth County was placed into the High Risk category (Orange) on Thursday, November 19, 2020 and remains so as of this date. Previously, Monmouth County and Marlboro had been designated as Moderate Risk (Yellow). We were in Yellow when we transitioned to four (4) days of in-person instruction.
The New Jersey Department of Health recommends that school districts should consider remote learning when designated High Risk. When districts are under High Risk (Orange), the criteria to require a staff member or student to go into a 14-day quarantine expands greatly.
In High Risk, we must quarantine any individual who comes into close contact with an individual with a symptom of COVID-19. In Moderate Risk (Yellow), we were required to quarantine individuals who came in close contact with a positive case. This expanded criterion greatly increased our number of students and staff in quarantine, which immediately caused operational issues. With the level of cases sustaining and growing, these same issues will occur in the High Risk (Orange) designation.

Action

Unanimously, the MTPS nurses, administrators, and the members of the MTPS Overall Pandemic Committee agree that the next transition date will be Tuesday, January 19, 2021. MTPS will continue remote learning through Friday, January 15, 2021. Please note that the district is closed on Monday, January 18th due to the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Evaluation Considerations

MTPS will consider many factors in the reevaluation process. First, we will consider the risk category. This truly matters. If we are still in Orange, or even worse in Red, there are serious safety and logistical problems that are real for the district. We must be able to safely operate.
This decision will again be based on the current COVID-19 level of community and county spread and the guidelines and recommendations of the New Jersey Department of Health.
All decisions will be made in conjunction with the Overall Pandemic Response Committee. We will also be discussing our pandemic circumstances at our December 15, 2020 Board of Education Meeting.
In keeping with similar timeframes, our goal will be to send an update to the community regarding our transition date of Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by Wednesday, January 13, 2021. On Wednesday, January 13th, I will send a community update regarding our next steps.
I am truly sorry this is the year we are experiencing. No one could have ever imagined this. I know we all have family members, friends, and coworkers at this point who have been affected by this virus. My goal as your superintendent is to develop the best and safest plan through consensus for the community of Marlboro. I have said it before, and I will say it again. Rainstorms never last. Our community is incredible as are our students and staff. The sun will shine again. It is essential we make the safest decision for both our students and staff.

Building Readiness

MTPS is fully prepared for when students and staff reenter our buildings. Please understand, the decision to remain virtual is not based upon any building readiness issues. It is being based upon current cases, the guidelines from the NJDOH, the recommendation from our local health officer to adhere to the guidance, and anticipated staffing issues.

From Our Incredible Nurses:

Please know that our nurses are still available if you have any questions or concerns. Please share with our nurses any family member or student who is symptomatic and/or is COVID-19 Positive.
Our nurses require this information to keep everyone safe and ensure our schools will be a safe environment for students and staff when we return.
The symptoms may include a combination of the following:
Symptoms
For school settings, the CDC recommends that students and staff with the following symptoms be promptly isolated from others and excluded from school:
At least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, change in taste or smell, fever, constant runny nose, vomiting, and chills/shivers
At least two of the following symptoms: headache, sore throat, nausea, fatigue, congestion, body aches
Please email your school nurse if you have any questions or to report a sick family member.
Contact Information for Nurses
Please remember to wear masks, wash hands, and stay safe!

Great Picture of Incubation Timeline

The picture below relates to Thanksgiving, but it really applies to every holiday (or just every day in general). Special thanks to Nurse Kahn for finding it!

Inside The Coronavirus

Please click the link below for an incredible 3-D description of what scientists know about the inner workings of the pathogen that has infected our world. This is from Scientific American.

Updated Schedule Information

Preschool (ABA)

Whole group and individualized instruction will be from 9:30 - 12:00. Lunch will be from 12:00 - 1:00. From 1:00 - 2:30, there will be time for small group instruction, individualized instruction, parent training, story time, etc.

Preschool (PSD/Integrated)

Whole group and individualized instruction will be from 9:30 - 12:00. Lunch will be from 12:00 - 1:00. From 1:00 - 2:30, there will be time daily sessions offered to students including small group instruction, individualized instruction, parent training, story time, etc.

Preschool Related Services

To be scheduled from 9:30-3:30 daily

Elementary Schedules

Please follow Wednesday's half-day schedule (all synchronous). The break for lunch will be 50 minutes.
Grades K-3 will have afternoon small group instruction in reading and math (M,T,R,F).
Grades 4-5 will have afternoon synchronous instruction split between instructional blocks (ELA and math) (M,T,R,F).

Middle School Students

Middle school students will follow the full-day schedule. It is modified slightly from the normal full-day schedule to include 10-minute breaks between periods. Middle school students will attend five days per week.

Questions/Concerns About Schedules

Please send any questions to your building leadership. For special services questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Dana Blair @ dblair@mtps.org.
Be Safe & Strong Marlboro!
Sincerely - Eric