The return schedule for the West Windsor-Plainsboro Public Schools has been changed due to the increase in COVID cases in recent days.
Monday, Jan. 3, will now be a full day of staff professional development for teachers in all of the schools in the district. Staff members will be in-person but schools will be closed to students. High school sports will be held as scheduled on Jan. 3. For the rest of the school week, students will learn in person for the first half of the day with no lunch, and then will go home and learn virtually afternoons.
“This past week, we have seen increasing public health concerns as COVID numbers have exploded throughout the country, state, and region. As a district, we have seen a significant increase in cases and our school community has been directly impacted. Due to challenges and availability of testing as well as delays in reporting, it remains very difficult to assess local health data. Over this break, we have had a reported increase in staff illness which includes district food service, custodial, and transportation contractors,” Superintendent of Schools David Aderhold wrote in a notice to parents.
“The district will continue to assess our cases and symptomatic close contacts throughout the weekend and week ahead and will make determinations for temporary transitions to full-day virtual instruction based upon a targeted approach,” Aderhold wrote. “Should it be necessary to make further scheduling changes, the district will be prepared to do so based upon specific health data. Temporary virtual instruction decisions will be considered within classrooms, grade levels, or buildings until such time that we are unable to staff the district safely.”
Aderhold noted that the district does not have the authority to move all students to temporary virtual instruction unless the move is grounded in local health data. “The ability to offer remote learning as an instructional model was eliminated by Governor Murphy at the conclusion of last school year. Virtual instruction can only be utilized as a result of a COVID quarantine or COVID closure,” Aderhold wrote. “Should the district see staffing concerns that may impact the totality of operations, we will assess a further virtual instruction decision. Decisions that may result in a full district transition to virtual instruction will be grounded in school district and/or community health data.”
If a child is symptomatic or is unvaccinated and is identified as close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID, the student should quarantine for 10 days. Virtual instruction will be provided to quarantined and isolated students during quarantine. “We ask parents/guardians to be patient as virtual instruction information is set up due to the possibility of high demand,” Aderhold wrote.
The number of COVID cases in the district and the ability to safely staff schools will impact decisions about keeping school buildings open for instruction. “Parents/guardians are encouraged to have backup childcare arrangements in place should a school or the district need to move to temporary virtual instruction,” Aderhold wrote. “Due to the fluidity of the current public health crisis, this determination may need to be made very quickly. Additional information will be communicated should a change in direction be needed.”