HVRSD posts COVID planning update

This email was sent to Hopewell Valley Regional School District families today:

Dear HVRSD School Community,

Below is an update on the current state of our schools related to COVID planning. Thanks to the commitment of our staff and the support of our families, we are one of only two districts in the area that has provided an in-person program for all grades since September.  We have been meeting or exceeding the CDC school guidelines since we opened and our efforts are working. We continue to have the lowest number of cases and the most in-person days of any district in the area.  In addition to providing in-person academics, our efforts have enabled us to be the only district in the area to run sports on all levels, including middle school.  Our talented and creative staff also restructured our middle school and high school clubs and activities to provide additional opportunities for our students. On the elementary level, we expect to offer enrichment opportunities this spring.

Next Steps Our goal is, and remains, the safe return to full-day, five days a week instruction for PreK-12 in this school year.  The next steps will include the following: the combining of cohorts on the high school level so that all in-person students attend five days a week, the rolling return by grade-level on the middle school level, and the eventual expansion of the elementary and secondary in-person school day.  We are also planning summer support programs for students on all levels.  Specific details will be shared in the coming days and weeks. 

Although the COVID activity levels for our county have improved, we require your continued vigilance regarding social distancing outside of school, so we may continue with our plan. It is important to note that some of our return to school goals may be hindered by space and social distancing requirements that remain in effect.  As the weather improves we will utilize outdoor spaces for classes and lunch to assist us in meeting our goals.

At this time, we do not anticipate a mandatory move to remote learning after spring break. This stance is subject to change and is dependent on COVID cases, consultation with the Department of Health and school physician, and the commitment of families who travel and adhere to quarantine regulations when they return home after traveling. 

Remote and Hybrid Learning Expectations and AttendanceOur teachers require your support to ensure that the remote learning experience is effective for all involved.  As we enter the second half of the school year, we are noting some disappointing trends in remote learning behaviors. Please help us reinforce these expectations.​ 

Effective immediately:

  • All students must be on time, with their camera on, prepared to participate and work throughout the periodor they will be marked absent and will not receive credit for the period.
  • Students must be sitting at a desk, table, or in a similar learning environment. Please do not allow your child to attend class from restaurants, stores, moving cars, or other distracting environments. This is disruptive to everyone in the class.
  • The use of GoGuardian has been expanded so that teachers can monitor students’ open tabs while in class.Students will be asked to close out all non-school-related tabs.
  • Our Tech Help support tickets indicate that many student connectivity issues are the result of students having multiple tabs open and/or streaming non-school-related items (e.g., Netflix or games) while in class.
  • If a student is at home with any illness, they must have a doctor’s note to return.
  • Students must attend school on the in-person days for which they are scheduled.

Mental HealthWe recognize that this has been a difficult time for many students, staff, and families.  Please take the time to speak to your children about their mental wellness and any issues they may be facing.  If you have any concerns, your child’s school counselor is your first point of contact. Our counseling department has developed a list of resources for families.  
If you have more immediate concerns, our district TIP Line is available. Our district website has a Help and Hope link with mental health and prevention resources.  Please contact our tip line via telephone 609-737-4000 x 8477 (TIPS) or email tips@hvrsd.org For an emergency, please call 911. 

Our goal is to keep schools open and moving toward a return to a 5-day a week with full-day instruction. By working together, I am confident that we can achieve this goal.

Sincerely,
Thomas A. Smith, Ed.D.Superintendent of Schoolshe/his/himthomassmith@hvrsd.org

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