Re-Opening Update 9-1-20

Message from the Superintendent: Re-Opening Update 9-1-20
Posted on 10/01/2020
Message from the Superintendent: Re-Opening Update 9-1-20

1 September 2020

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s):

We are looking forward to the return to school for students on Thursday, 9/3Although this school year will be different for all of us, it is going to be wonderful to have our classrooms filled with the sights and sounds of teaching and learning again!

The Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) has been an integral part of our school community. Here is an important message from the PTO for the 2020-2021 school year.

Reminders about Preparing to Return to School:

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 advisableAdditionally, 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.

As you prepare your child for Thursday, it would be helpful to send him/her to school with a small package of tissues for individual-use, which will limit movement around the classroom. Also, please send your child to school, daily, with a filled water bottle. Our water fountains will not be permitted for student-use until further notice.

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 have chosen to vacation with your family before the start of school. 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 returned from a vacation place that requires quarantine. 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.   

  • Our school nurses have combed through, in detail, all of the guidance we were issued by the New Jersey Department of Health and our local department of health, the Northwest Bergen Regional Health Commission. We hope you find this Health Office Protocols and Procedures document informative, as it shares with you an overview of the many core elements and matrices our school nurses must follow this year. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Lehmann at TBD (ext. 1104) or Ms. McCarthy at CDW (ext. 2103).

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

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 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 swiftly. This will allow the dismissal process to move along as it is intended to do, 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.

Our Re-Opening Plan:

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

Our District’s Re-Opening Plan remains on track. Our 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 not be notifying districts of plan-approvals nor issuing approval letters. 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, even after the school year begins.

Our Old Tappan faculty and staff members are prepared 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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