Schools To Add More In-Person Learning In November

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Verona public schools
Superintendent Dr. Rui Dionisio emailed parents yesterday to say that Verona schools will bring more students back into school buildings in November.

The email said that Verona will move to Stage 3 of its COVID-19 instruction plan on Monday, November 9. The school year was to have started at Stage 3, but the district had to roll that back to Stage 2 on August 24. Verona was facing staff shortages at the time, as well as delays in replacing windows in two schools buildings. In Stage 2, only pre-K, kindergarten and first grade students are now allowed in school buildings, plus special education students.

Stage 3 will bring all grades back, but not every student in every grade will be back in a school building at the same time. Instead, students will return to in-person learning according to the grouping, or cohort, that they have been assigned by the district. Each cohort will only be in a building from 8 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. one day a week, except for Wednesdays, which will be a remote learning day for everyone.

In the email, Dionisio says that the transition to Stage 3 was made possible by the district resolving staffing issues, and that Verona continues to interview and hire staff for teacher leave replacements positions, as well as substitute teachers. In addition, he says that Verona’s HVAC specialist verified that existing school ventilation systems are operational and functioning appropriately, “providing fresh air exchange that exceeds the minimum recommendations under the public health and air quality standards. During our walkthroughs, additional areas were identified that required examination.”

Earlier yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy held a live Facebook chat with Dr. Anthony Fauci, in which the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases praised New Jersey for achieving a low COVID-19 infection rate, in part through its use of remote learning. But Fauci warned that warned young adults are “inadvertently” spreading the virus. On September 14, Dionisio suspended all school extracurricular activities after a weekend party in the woods off Howell Drive allegedly involving a large number of Verona High School students raised concerns for an outbreak of COVID-19. The suspension was lifted on September 16 after the Montclair Department of Health finished case and contact evaluations.

Fauci also asked listeners to put aside what he called “divisiveness nonsense” over wearing a mask. You can listen to an except of the chat as captured by our news partner, NJSpotlight.com:

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