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NA Update – Return to Hybrid Learning Model – Phase II (3/1/21 – 4/2/21)

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Good afternoon, community members.

 

Since the North Arlington Public School District, in coordination with the Bergen County Department of Health (BCDOH) and the North Arlington Department of Health (NADOH), implemented our Fully Remote Learning Model on November 30, 2020, we have been closely monitoring COVID19-related data to help drive our decision-making process.

 

Local Data

During an eight-month period (March – October), the NADOH identified 408 positive COVID19 cases within our community.  During a two-month period (November – January), the NADOH identified 940 positive COVID19 cases.  In eleven days into February, the NADOH has identified 89 positive COVID19 cases, which shows that our local COVID19-related data is trending downward. 

 

While the North Arlington Public School District was implementing the Fully Remote Learning Model, from 11/30/20 to 1/7/21 (22 school days), a total of 56 students and 12 staff members were identified as testing positive for COVID19.  Of the 56 students who tested positive for COVID19, 30 would have potentially been in the hybrid setting, prompting a total of 30 unexpected quarantines of classes and teaching staff across the entire school district. 

 

Since the extension of our Fully Remote Learning Model, which was announced on January 8, 2021 and currently spanned 24 school days through February 11, 2021, a total of 31 students and 4 staff members were identified as testing positive for COVID19.  Of the 31 students who tested positive for COVID19, 15 would have potentially been in the hybrid setting, prompting a total of 15 unexpected quarantines of classes and teaching staff across the entire school district.  This information also shows that COVID19-related data directly having an impact on our schools is trending downward.

 

Regional Data – Northeast

Since the NJDOH’s weekly COVID19 Activity Level Report for the week of 11/14/20, our region (Northeast) has been identified as a “High Risk” of COVID19 transmission.  The case rate* percentage was at a 32.83 (very high) and increased to 37.31 (very high) during the week of 1/2/21.  The COVID-like illness (CLI) percentage was at a 6.44 (high) and increased to 7.02 (high).  The percent positivity* percentage was at a 10.04 (high) and increased to 12.65 (high). 

 

In referencing the aforementioned data that was used by our Restart and Recovery Committee to implement our Fully Remote Learning Model in late November and then again as part of an extension in January, these three categories within the COVID19 Activity Level Report have dropped significantly, as noted in the most recent report for the week of 2/6/21.  As per this most recent report, the case rate* percentage has dropped to 27.11 (very high), the COVID-like illness (CLI) percentage dropped to 5.92 (high), and the percent positivity* percentage dropped to 9.68.  Although our region is still considered an area of “high” transmission rate for COVID19, all data is trending downward and we are a few percentage points away from being labeled a “moderate” region for COVID19 transmission.

 

Return to Hybrid Learning Model – Phase II (3/1/21 – 4/2/21)

Based on all of the aforementioned information, and in coordination with the BCDOH and the NADOH, North Arlington Public Schools will return to our Hybrid Learning Model – Phase II beginning on March 1, 2021.  We will continue to review all COVID19-related data and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NJDOH, BCDOH, NADOH, and Governor Murphy.  Our hope is to expand our PreK-5 in-person learning in April and possibly offer that expansion to our secondary grades (6-12), depending on upcoming survey data.

 

The Hybrid Learning Model will mirror our previous schedule (e.g. Cohort A on Mondays & Tuesdays, Wednesday Virtual, Cohort B on Thursday & Fridays).  PreK-12 Self Contained, ABA, ELL, and PreK4 classes may attend 4 days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday).  Scheduled small group instruction will take place in the afternoons remotely.

 

RETURN TO PHASE II RESPONSE PROCESS – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

Families will be provided the opportunity to select a different learning model for our return to our Hybrid Learning Model – Phase II (March 1, 2021 – April 2, 2021).  Please see the scenarios and guidance below: 

 

Your child(ren) was/were attending our Hybrid Learning Model (In-Person & Virtual) during the months of October and November.

  •         If you would like your child(ren) to continue with this model, no action is needed.
  •         If you would like to transition your child(ren) to our Fully Virtual Learning Model, which would be effective on Monday (3/1/21), please email your child(ren)’sschool secretaryfor each respective school, as noted within this message by Wednesday (2/17/21).

Your child(ren) was/were attending our Fully Virtual Learning Model during the months of October and November.

  •         If you would like your child(ren) to continue with this model, no action is needed.
  •         If you would like to transition your child(ren) to our Hybrid Learning Model, which would be effective on Monday (3/1/21), please email your child(ren)’sschool secretaryfor each respective school, as noted within this message by Wednesday (2/17/21).

 

Please remember that if you select the Hybrid (In-Person & Virtual) Learning Model, you may transition to the Fully Virtual Learning Model at any point by notifying your child(ren)’s school secretary for each respective school; however, you cannot transition from our Fully Virtual Learning Model to our Hybrid (In-Person & Virtual) Learning Model at any point during this new window of Phase II in order to maintain appropriate health and safety guidelines.

 

School Secretaries

Anthony Elementary School:  Susan Cunningham scunningham@navikings.org   

Jefferson Elementary School:  KathyAnn Werner kawerner@navikings.org  

Roosevelt Elementary School:  Allison Sheedy asheedy@navikings.org  

Washington Elementary School:  Jan Tuero jtuero@navikings.org   

Veterans Middle School:  Marisa Ryan mryan@navikings.org  

North Arlington High School:  Audrey Davey adavey@navikings.org  

 

Precautions and Reminders

Please note that as additional precautions, although not required, North Arlington Public Schools will have desk shields placed on all desks of our PreK-5 student population.  Our students at Veterans Middle School and North Arlington High School will have the option of receiving a school-issued face shield, which can be worn in addition to the required face covering.

 

As a reminder, please continue to adhere to the BCDOH guidance on “One Symptom Exclusions.” If your child(ren) is/are exhibiting one of the COVID19-related symptoms (see below) he/she/they will be excluded from school.

 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

 

If your child(ren) is/are exhibiting one of the COVID19-related symptoms, it is recommended by the BCDOH that you seek a medical evaluation to rule out COVID19 and provide a written medical clearance to return to school.

 

Possible Quarantines and Updates from our Principals

Please also note that during our return to our Hybrid Learning Model, we will encounter times where classes will be recommended to self-quarantine by the BCDOH, even though all protocols are being followed.  This will require notifications to the community and times where your child(ren) may have to self-quarantine for an extended period of time.

 

Our principals will be providing updated guidance on protocols and schedules in the coming days.

 

We appreciate everyone’s patience and support in an attempt to overcome the challenges triggered by this pandemic, the impact of which has been felt by our school community for almost a year.  Please remember that we will continue to place the health and safety of our students and staff at the forefront of our decision-making process, while adhering to Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders.

 

Thank you and stay well.

 

Stephen Yurchak, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

  

* https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/statistics/covid/