Governor Murphy announced yesterday that schools will not physically reopen for the 2019-2020 school year. As a school district, our faculty will continue our remote learning plan for the remainder of this academic year.
We recognize, that despite this anticipated outcome, many of you have been holding out hope that a return to school may have been possible. We too shared that hope with you despite the insurmountable challenges that would have made such a decision inconceivable. These recent weeks have been disruptive to teaching and learning as we once knew it, as well as the traditions we have all come to expect and hope for. We realize this is a challenging time for students, staff, and families.
For our VHS Seniors, this is an especially difficult time to end their high school experience in this fashion. As a school district, we have been exploring all creative and safe options to carry out the most significant end of year rituals during this public health crisis, most notably the Verona High School Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2020. Plans will be communicated on all end of year events and ceremonies for our schools once a final decision has been made by the Verona Public Schools administration.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that Governor Murphy recently relaxed some restrictions for public spaces where people may now visit. However, the Verona Public Schools buildings and grounds will continue to remain closed to all members of the public in an effort to mitigate the continued COVID community spread. These restrictions include, but are not limited to all fields, HBW track, and elementary school playgrounds. Furthermore, our school district will commence referendum construction on our facilities at all six schools in the near future.
Closing school and shifting to virtual learning was a Herculean task. Coordinating a safe return to school in September promises to be an even more complex paradigm to navigate. Our administrative team will continue to plan, with consideration of all variables, the necessary precautions to reopen schools in the coming months with guidance from government and public health officials. Safety is our number one priority and we have to makes sure we get it right.
There is no doubt these are uncertain times. But I am confident that our students, staff, families, and the entire Verona community will continue to rise to the occasion and remain wholly aligned while we overcome this challenge together. Please know that our team continues to be available to support you during this time of need.
Wishing you and your families great health and well-being as we all look forward to seeing everyone soon. Stay safe everyone.
Dr. Rui Dionisio
Superintendent of Schools