MONROE – The rising coronavirus cases in the township and the compound of staffing issues in the district have led the Monroe Township School District to transition to fully-remote learning starting Dec. 16.
Schools Superintendent Dori Alvich informed the community of the decision in a letter on Dec. 14 stating “the district has reached a tipping point where we can no longer safely and effectively keep our schools open.
“The current data supports a move to full remote learning to help mitigate the spread in our community and protect the well-being of our students, staff and their families as we move into the end of the year,” she said. “This is not a decision that is made lightly or without great thought. However, the health and safety of staff and students is paramount.”
Alvich said keeping track of cases and quarantine protocols of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New Jersey Department of Health among staff and students has been a full-time job.
“Our protocols have been working and we have not seen an in-school transmission in our district,” she said. “Currently, since Nov. 16, we have 11 positive cases among staff and 37 positive cases among students, most of which are full-remote students. The number of students and staff needing to quarantine in our schools and community has grown exponentially over this time period with the expectation that things will be getting worse. As of today, we have 104 staff members and about 70 students quarantining due to contact with a COVID-19 positive person, travel outside of New Jersey or cold-like symptoms.”
Additionally, the district has witnessed a large percentage of parents asking for their child to move from in-person learning to fully-remote learning as well as more students testing positive, Alvich said.
“Nearly every school district in Middlesex County and surrounding areas is now choosing to move to a fully-remote model for the foreseeable future after the holiday break, which greatly compounds our staffing issues,” she said. “With more staff out on child, medical, maternity and quarantine leaves, all of these factors are directly impacting our ability to deliver a consistent program to our students.”
Schools will remain in full remote learning until at least Jan. 19. Building principals will communicate specific details with all families and staff.
For the week of Dec. 16-23, the school buildings will remain open for any teachers who want to work from their classroom, security personnel, all office staff, and anyone who is needed for the safe operations of the buildings. For the two weeks following winter break, Jan. 4-18, all school buildings will be closed to all staff, except custodians and food services. District offices will remain open in January with limited staff to ensure the district continues all business operations. Supervisors will communicate the schedule with each office.
During the time of remote status, all meal pickups will continue as planned.
“I will continue to monitor the data coming from the State of New Jersey Department of Health as well as the mandates from the Department of Education to determine if more time in a fully remote environment is necessary,” Alvich said.
For more information, visit www.monroe.k12.nj.us