Princeton, West Windsor-Plainsboro public schools to switch to remote learning starting next week

The superintendent for the West Windsor-Plainsboro Public Schools announced in the early evening on Thursday that the district will move to a remote learning environment for a minimum of two weeks beginning on Monday, March 16. School officials will re-evaluate the length of closure and follow guidelines provided by public health officials, West Windsor-Plainsboro superintendent David Aderhold wrote.

All after-school, evening, and weekend activities in the West Winsor-Plainsboro district will be canceled or postponed starting March 15. Athletic practices and competitions are canceled until further notice.

“Our staff members are committed to the students of this district and do not take our responsibilities lightly. The district will provide an outline of our virtual/remote learning plans in the coming days,” Aderhold wrote.

“As a district that believes in science, we are past the point of individual containment and must focus on mitigation and community spread. The preponderance of evidence demands that social distancing is the only strategy that currently impacts the eventual spread of COVID-19. I say eventual not to spread fear, but to speak truth and reality to the challenges ahead of us,” Aderhold wrote. “Taiwan and Singapore have shown us a path forward. We have an obligation to one another to flatten the epidemiological curve that this virus is taking. We owe this to our health care workers and first responders. We owe this to one another.”

Allowing for social distancing and limiting exposure is the only strategy in the absence of a vaccine or medical protocol to protect the public’s health, Aderhold wrote.

“We are working quickly and collaboratively in the district to focus on the safety and well-being of our school community,” Aderhold wrote. “This is an evolving situation that may require further changes.”

Just before 10:15 p.m. on Thursday, Princeton Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane also announced that the Princeton Public Schools will also shift to remote learning for two weeks beginning on Monday.

“After consulting this evening with our local health officials, I am announcing that the Princeton Public Schools will be moving forward with the implementation of remote learning beginning Monday, March 16 and extending initially through Friday, March 27. During this time period, students will be learning from home with virtual support from their teachers. Following this two week period, we will re-evaluate the continued implementation of remote learning based on guidance from our public health officials. We believe this decision is ultimately in the best interest our students, our staff, and our entire community,” Cochrane wrote.

Students should be prepared Friday to bring home materials they may need to engage in remote instruction, including musical instruments, textbooks, computers, reading materials, and athletic equipment. Remote learning may take a somewhat different form depending on grade level or subject.

“It is important to note that remote learning does not mean that our schools will be closed. Our buildings will be open and many staff will be present to answer questions and offer support,” Cochrane wrote. “I am deeply grateful to all our staff who have worked – and will continue to work – eagerly, collaboratively and creatively to provide meaningful learning experiences for our students. I am also grateful to our students and families who I know will continue to support one another as we navigate together these uncharted waters.”

Both school districts will still have early dismissals on Friday so staff can prepare for the distance learning programs and logistics.

The Montgomery Public Schools announced earlier that the district will shift to remote learning.

The Peddie School in Hightstown is closed until at least April 14. “Peddie has not been made aware of any suspected cases in our community but is compelled to contribute to controlling the outbreak,” reads the school’s website. Stuart County Day School is also closed. Several other area private schools are currently on spring break.