Stuart Country Day cancels school, Princeton Public Schools will dismiss early March 16 to plan for potential school closings (updated)

The Princeton Public Schools will close early on Monday, March 16 so staff members can plan for possible school closings and distance learning if the need arises.

Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane wrote a letter to parents on Tuesday informing them that district’s elementary schools and John Witherspoon Middle School will be dismissed at 1 p.m. on Monday. Princeton High School will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m.

“After this planning day, we will share more details about what distance learning would look like for our district and how food would be distributed,” Cochrane wrote.

“Currently in Princeton, our response measures include stringent and frequent cleaning of our buildings and buses, respiratory hygiene education and practice, careful monitoring of daily attendance and of any staff or student illnesses, and social distancing in the form of greetings other than handshakes and hugs,” Cochrane wrote. “We are also engaged in planning for the possibility of an extended school closure should our health authorities believe such a measure is warranted. I want to thank our staff for the caring, collaborative and creative way they have been working already to put in place meaningful ways to teach our students remotely and to ensure that our students who qualify for free and reduced lunch would continue to receive meals.”

School and local health officials are asking students or members of a household to self-quarantine for two weeks if they are returning from any country on the CDC’s Level 3 list of areas experiencing more widespread contagion. Currently, those countries include China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea. Local and federal health officials are also advising against taking any cruises at this time.

“As we continue to take measures to ensure the physical health of our community, it is equally important to provide for our mental and emotional health – and that of our children. These are stressful times. As we think about and plan for worst-case scenarios, it is hard not to feel the fear and anxiety associated with those. That is natural,” Cochrane wrote. “Nevertheless, it is in working calmly and collaboratively and in relying on the experience and advice of our health officials, that we will make the best decisions on behalf of our kids and all those for whom we care.”

Stuart Country Day School leaders decided to cancel classes at the private school for girls beginning tomorrow, March 11 as a precautionary measure.

“Given the nature and spread of the virus, we will continue to keep you updated on our return date to school. Should we not be able to open on March 30, 2020, we will begin to deliver remote learning,” wrote Patty Fagin, head of the school. “We will continue to update you as needed. There will be no remote learning for the remainder of this week as teachers make preparations.”
All Stuart events are canceled through March 30. including athletics, arts, academics and third-party and outdoor rentals. Stuart has also canceled its fourth annual Lead Like a Girl conference, which was scheduled for April 4.

“I thank everyone in our community for their understanding, compassion and kindness during these unprecedented circumstances and will be in touch very soon regarding next steps,” Fagin wrote.

One Comment

  1. I find it puzzling that the school district is more concerned about continuity of free lunches than the health of the entire community. As we learned in the story about the party, many Princeton residents were exposed 9 days ago, and have most likely already spread to their families and friends in the town and the schools. Keeping the meals flowing can be sorted out later, as can details of going online with instruction. The schools should use some unneeded snow days and shut down immediately.

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