Re-Opening Update 8-24-20

Message from the Superintendent: Re-Opening Update 8-24-20
Posted on 08/24/2020
Message from the Superintendent: Re-Opening Update 8-24-20

24 August 2020

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s):

We are finalizing our preparations for the return to school. This school year is sure to be a memorable one for us all!

As was mentioned in last week’s correspondence, the first day of school for students is now 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 has been posted on our District website.


Arrival Procedures:

The Old Tappan Police Department worked with the District to develop a traffic flow pattern that will aid us in morning temperature-checks prior to students entering our buildings. Of course, any changed routine will require a bit of time to get used to, especially as these requirements are not our norm. We thank you, in advance, for your patience. Please anticipate longer than usual drop-off times and pick-up times, at least until these procedures become more routinized for everyone.


  • For students being dropped off by vehicle at TBD only: Vehicles will drive down Herrick Drive in one single-file line, following this route. Once in front of the school, the child’s temperature will be checked while the child is still in the vehicle and wearing a mask. If the child’s temperature is below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the child will be permitted to exit the vehicle and enter the building. Staff will be available to assist. Adults may not get out of the vehicles at drop-off. Vehicles must exit out to Charles Place.


  • For students being dropped off by vehicle at TBD and CDW: Vehicles will drive down Herrick Drive in a one single-file line. Once in front of TBD, the directions above will be followed. The vehicle will then turn left down Interschool Drive and proceed to the CDW temperature-check station. Follow this route. The CDW student’s temperature will be taken while still in the vehicle wearing a mask. If permitted to exit, the middle school student will follow the staff’s directions and go to the outdoor waiting area, designated by grade level. The vehicle will then drive out the front of the CDW loop.


  • For students being dropped off by vehicle at CDW only: Vehicles must only enter CDW via the Interschool Drive entry point. Vehicles will be unable to enter off of Old Tappan Road and will be unable to use the Board of Education parking lot. The Old Tappan Police are encouraging this route – travel south down Leonard Drive, turn right on Irving Street, turn right on Charles Place, turn left onto School Street, and then turn right onto Interschool Drive. Once on Interschool Drive, stay in the established lanes and proceed to the temperature-check station. The CDW student’s temperature will be taken while still in the vehicle wearing a mask. If permitted to exit, the middle school student will follow the staff’s directions and go to the outdoor waiting area, designated by grade level. The vehicle will then drive out the front of the CDW loop.


  • For students walking to school: If a TBD student is walking to school, the child must walk to the front doors, where a staff member will check the child’s temperature before he/she is permitted to enter. All TBD students will be waiting inside by cohort groups and supervised by staff members. If a CDW student is walking to school, the student will find staff members at the school’s Old Tappan Road driveway entrances, as well as in front of the school. A staff member will check the student’s temperature. Once checked, the child will be permitted to join his/her grade-level cohort group in the outside waiting area. All areas will be labeled and supervised by staff members.


  • For student riding the school bus to school: Students will disembark from the bus at the designated location and walk to the doors of the school. A staff member will be conduct temperature-checks and if cleared, the TBD children will enter the building and report to their appropriate locations and the CDW students will be directed to join their grade-level cohort in the outside waiting area.  


Dismissal Procedures:

  • TBD Students will be dismissed from their exterior classroom doors, which will be labeled. Teachers will release children to their assigned adult at the classroom door. This year’s dismissal process might take a bit longer than usual; however, the intent is to minimize large-crowd gatherings in the front of the school and to naturally stagger dismissal by several minutes by allowing teachers to release to waiting adults, which will ease congestion. Please understand that this is not the time to engage in a conference with the teacher. The teacher will be occupied with the dismissal of all students. Additionally, the teacher will be on a timeframe, as he/she must be ready to begin teaching the students who are learning remotely shortly after dismissal. With that said, please pick-up your child from the door and move off of school grounds. This will allow the dismissal process to move along, and it will allow the teachers the time they need to continue teaching in the afternoon.


  • CDW Students will be dismissed from assigned exterior doors. We will stagger the dismissal by moments to allow for larger gatherings to dissipate. Again, we ask that as soon as you have your student, please leave school grounds to allow for the dismissal process to continue for others. Unlike other years, unfortunately, this will not be time to discuss after-school plans and events.  We will need to keep our flow moving.


School-specific information will follow this correspondence from Ms. Boyce at TBD and Mr. O’Neill and Mr. Lauriello at CDW.


Health and Safety Reminders:

We must work together to maintain a healthy school environment -- our collaboration remains so important!

  • 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.


  • Every day, before preparing your child(ren) to leave for school, our school nurses ask that you check your child(ren) against this At-Home Daily Screening Tool. Use this at-home tool as a guide for yourself; it does not need to be submitted. If you do this self-screening at home, it will help us maintain a safe environment. Every two weeks, we will be sending you a digital Health and Wellness Attestation Form, which you saw in the Summer Packet and which must completed and submitted, digitally, every time you receive it -- every two weeks. The Attestation Form will go out every other Friday that school is in-session and must be received digitally by the following Monday. Again, as we get used to these routines, they will become easier for us.   


Please understand that our school nurses must follow all State and local health guidelines. We appreciate your cooperation in working with them, always but especially this school year!


Digital Summer Packet Forms and Teacher Assignment:

Once all of your required forms are completed, you will be able to access your child(ren)'s teacher assignment(s). TBD’s assignments are available for viewing today, 8/24. CDW’s assignments will be available once Mr. O’Neill sends you a message on Wednesday, 8/26. To view the teacher assignment(s), you must be in the Parent Portal and click on "Student Data" and then "Summary."


  • For TBD students, the teacher listed will be the child's classroom teacher. These assignments are available for viewing today, 8/24.


  • For CDW students, the teacher listed will be the child's Homeroom/Period 1 teacher. These assignments will be available for viewing after Mr. O’Neill sends you a message on Wednesday, 8/26. A full middle school schedule will be distributed to students on the first day of school.


  • Back-to-School Nights for both schools will be video presentations posted online for your viewing. The dates will be set for third full week of school in September, and the video presentations will remain online for viewing at your convenience.


As a reminder, we use an emergency notification system for school closings and/or school messages that links directly with the Genesis Parent Portal. Please be sure to update your Guardian 1 and Guardian 2 information (home phones, cell phones, e-mails) under the "Contacts" tab in the Genesis Parent Portal. 


Fully Remote e-Learners:

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 regarding the pick-up of school supplies on one of the first days of school. The teachers will be gathering the supplies together, and we will let you know when everything is prepared and ready for pick-up during the first week of September.


Reminders about 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. Additionally, our school physician has advised us that neck gaiters will not be permitted. 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.


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 registration links for our August virtual check-in sessions. 


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. Our District’s Re-Opening Plan remains on track. 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.

Our Re-Opening Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are posted to our website for your reference.

Thank you so much for your continued support and partnership as we prepare to welcome students, in-person and virtually, to the 2020-2021 school year.


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

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