West Windsor-Plainsboro schools will go full remote starting Nov. 30, superintendent David Aderhold announced in a letter Nov. 20. The district will remain fully virtual through Wednesday, Dec. 9.
Daily COVID-19 cases have risen statewide from 284 per day to over 4,000 since the school year started. In the WW-P school district, 421 students and 199 staff members have been placed in quarantine or isolation.
The quarantine and isolation designations do not necessarily mean a student or staff member has tested positive for the coronavirus. Those in quarantine or isolation may have exhibited symptoms, come into close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive, traveled from a state on the New Jersey Travel Advisory list or traveled internationally.
“Throughout the escalation of the number of cases, the procedures and protocols that the district has put into place have been successful in mitigating school-based spread,” Aderhold wrote. “However, these past two weeks have seen an exponential increase in contact tracing, quarantining, and positive cases in our school community. Our West Windsor and Plainsboro families, and the families of our staff members, are feeling the effects of this devastating virus. With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, rising state and national cases, the return of our college students, and increased interstate and intrastate travel that we know will include gathering with family and friends, it is evident that the district must take actions to protect the health and safety of our staff, students, and greater school community.”
The district will resume in-person learning for students who opted for the hybrid model and all-in instruction models on Dec. 10. Students on the Hybrid 2 schedule will attend school in-person for two days that week. The week of Dec. 14 will run on the Hybrid 1 schedule. The week of Dec. 21, a three-day week, will finish on the Hybrid 2 schedule.
The Dec. 10 date will be reevaluated prior to a return to school, based on local and state COVID data, guidance from the state, West Windsor and Plainsboro health departments and any corresponding Executive Orders by Gov. Phil Murphy. Any changes will be communicated before the return-to-school date.
The district started the school year with in-person hybrid and all-virtual models. The hybrid model runs on an alternating weekly schedule—groups of students alternate between in-person classes in the morning and virtual instruction in the afternoon.
Prior to the school year, the district ordered 250,000 masks, face shields, 800 gallons of hand sanitizer, temperature scanners and door entry temperature scanners. Students and staff are required to undergo wellness checks, and masks are required to be worn on buses and in school buildings at all times.
Winter recess will run Dec. 23 to Jan. 1. Starting Jan. 4, the district will observe a temporary 14-day move to full-remote learning through Jan. 18. Schools will return to to in-person instruction Tuesday, Jan. 19. Like the upcoming return-to-school date, this will also be reevaluated prior to the resumption of physical instruction. Additionally, all students and staff who travel out of state at any point during remote learning periods should still quarantine for 14 days.
The district is working with the Community Education Program to offer families the option to register for EDP care while students are fully remote. More information, including a registration link, can be found here. The program will adhere to all state gathering guidelines, so space is limited. The opening of the program will be dependent on staffing and must be in line with any related Executive Order in place.
As this program adheres to all state gathering guidelines, spaces are limited. The opening of this program is dependent on staffing and must be in line with any Executive Order in place at the time.
“Please remain vigilant as we continue to see an alarming increase in COVID cases throughout our state and region,” Aderhold wrote. “I wish you and your families’ health and safety in the days ahead.”