Re-Opening Update 8-20-20

Message from the Superintendent: Re-Opening Update 8-20-20
Posted on 08/20/2020
Message from the Superintendent: Re-Opening Update 8-20-20

20 August 2020

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s):

We are continuing to prepare for our return to school in only a couple of weeks. Even though teachers are returning to school in August, earlier than originally scheduled, to work towards our re-opening, they have requested a bit of additional time to prepare for our students. As such, we will be shifting the first day of school for students from Wednesday, 9/2 to Thursday, 9/3. 

Election Day, 11/3, which originally was not a school day, will be a virtual instruction day for all students this school year. As we approach that November day, Ms. Boyce and I will issue an e-learning schedule for all grades to follow.

These two changes are reflected on this revised 2020-2021 school year calendar, which will be Board-approved. This revised calendar will be posted on our District website, and the changes will be made to our website.

Preparing to Return to School:

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to begin working with your child(ren) on wearing a mask. Begin with an explanation of its purpose and then try to practice with your child(ren) on wearing the mask for periods of time, beginning with short intervals. The District will be providing five (5) washable cloth masks to all students and staff. Our students and staff may choose to wear their own masks instead of those issued by the District; however, it has been shared by those in the medical field that masks with vents are not advisable. We recognize that this imposed mask-requirement is not going to be easy for any of us, especially for our students, so we will help in any way possible by staying attuned to students’ needs and allowing for individual breaks when needed.

Additionally, as we think about returning to school, I encourage you to be aware of the travel advisory list if you choose to vacation with your family before school starts. For the health and safety of all of our students and staff, we are relying on you to be honest with us and to inform us if you will be returning from a vacation place that requires quarantine when the school year begins. Please contact the school’s office and the school nurse to let us know. We must work together to maintain a healthy school environment -- our collaboration remains so important!

Our wellness professionals are here to support you and your child(ren) with the return to school for in-person learning or with your choice of continuing with fully remote e-learning. Through OT Connections: Want to Talk? Want to Read? Want to Check In?, we are continuing to offer a three-part support system intended to give you opportunities to connect with our trained health and wellness professionals. Within this edition of OT Connections, you will see the date, times, and registration links for our August virtual check-in sessions. 

Upcoming Communications:

In my next communication:

  • I will share the traffic pattern for arrival at both schools that will ensure our staff is able to conduct temperature checks for students. The communication will also include directions for those students who walk to school and those who ride the school bus. The communication also will address the dismissal procedures. The Old Tappan Police Department continues to be very helpful to us as we solidify these details.
  • You will be notified that you may log into the Parent Portal to access teacher assignment information. In order to be ready for that information, please be sure that you have completed all of the required Summer Packet digital forms. If you do not know how to log into the Parent Portal, please see my message dated 7/28/20.
  • You will be reminded of health and safety messages from our school nurses, which will incorporate our guidelines from the New Jersey Department of Health. As I mentioned in the above section, “Preparing to Return to School,” our continued and consistent collaboration will remain critical to maintaining a healthy and safe environment for everyone.

For those families who selected the fully remote e-learning instructional model for your children, you will be receiving a separate, additional communication from me, as explained in my message to you on 8/13/20.

Our Re-Opening Plan:

Our Re-Opening Plan has been reviewed by the County Department of Education and has been passed to the State Department of Education. The State Department of Education will be notifying individual districts only if changes to their plans are necessary. Superintendents have been informed that the State Department of Education will not be notifying districts of plan-approvals nor issuing approval letters. Up to this point, I have not been notified of any required changes to our District’s Re-Opening Plan. As you know, though, any directive(s) from the Department of Education or the Governor’s Office could be imposed on us – and on any and all districts -- at any time.

Whether you selected in-person learning or fully remote e-learning for your child(ren), thank you for your continued support, as we work together to return our children to the 2020-2021 school year.


Danielle M. Da Giau, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools
Old Tappan Public School District

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