Message from the Superintendent: Coronavirus Update 3-10-20

Message from the Superintendent: Coronavirus Update 3-10-20
Posted on 03/10/2020
Message from the Superintendent: Coronavirus Update 3-10-20

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s):

As information regarding COVID-19 continues to become available, we continue to monitor and prepare for any potential impact on our District. To date, there have been no cases in our schools. Our school nurses continue to monitor student health and absence rates at TBD and CDW. We continue to work with the faculty, staff, and children to discuss the best ways to prevent the spread of germs. Students in both schools are cleaning their hands regularly, especially before eating. Our custodial staff continues to clean and disinfect heavily-used surfaces, such as desks, tabletops, door handles, keyboards, toilet facilities, water fountains, and toys.

On the news, you might be hearing about school closings. Please be aware that, as per the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), only the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and the local health department (Old Tappan and Northwest Bergen Regional Health Commission) have the authority to close schools for a public health-related reason. In the event that schools are closed, the NJDOE has informed all New Jersey school districts that we will be allowed to implement alternate means of educating students to satisfy the 180 school-day requirement, should we dip below the 180 school days on our calendars. At this point, in Old Tappan, we have not used any of our three (3) built-in snow days on our calendar, so if we needed to close, those three (3) days would be used first and we would not be required to deliver alternate instruction. However, if we were to be closed for more than the three (3) unused snow days, we would have to deliver instruction via alternate methods.

To that end, our District has developed a plan to carry on with instruction if we needed to close school in excess of our three (3) unused snow days. If that were to happen, you would receive notification via our regular call/e-mail/text system just like you would for any other emergency closing. Through that message, I would give you directions of where you and/or your child(ren) would need to look for the daily assignments. Teachers would be using their websites to post daily lessons and e-learning activities. All directions would be explicit. I also would include advice for technology assistance, if you needed it. Although, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), risk to the general American public remains low, we are prepared should we receive this closure directive from the NJDOH and local health department.

On a related note, we know that grade levels have upcoming field trips planned. We will continue to monitor the recommendations of and information from the NJDOH and local health department and make any necessary changes based on updated information.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership with us to reinforce effective preventative measures to reduce the spread of illnesses in school. Please continue to help us with the following:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home when sick and only return when you are symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.

As you look forward to April break (6 April – 10 April), please communicate your tentative plans with our school nurses, Ms. McCarthy (CDW x2103) and Ms. Lehmann (TBD x1104). They will offer you recommendations based on their guidance from the CDC and our local health department. More specific information regarding the request for communicating with us about April vacation plans will be forthcoming.

If you are looking for some resources to talk with your child(ren) about the coronavirus, here are some suggestions:

NPR for Kids: Exploring the Coronavirus

Tips for Discussing the Coronavirus with Children (National Association of School Psychologists and National Association of School Nurses)

Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus (Child Mind Institute)

NBC: How to Talk to Kids

I will continue to communicate with you, especially, as new information becomes available to us. I truly appreciate your collaboration, as we work together to keep our schools safe for our faculty, staff, and students.


Danielle M. Da Giau, Ed.D.

Old Tappan Public School District

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