CLARK, NJ - On Monday evening, the Clark BOE hosted a virtual public session of their monthly meeting with over 250 callers.   After the official business of the meeting concluded as outlined in the agenda, BOE President Steve Donkersloot moderated a Q&A forum.

Callers asked a variety of questions related to safety procedures, sanitizing, quarantining requirements, remote learning options, how students will switch between in-person and remote learning if needed, before and after care, busing and more.  The questions came about as a result of the distribution of the district's 2020-21 Reopening Plan.

Grande addressed the questions during the meeting while reminding listeners the landscape continues to change day to day based on directives from the New Jersey Department of Education and the Governor’s office.

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As an example of the constant changes, Grande reminded attendees, that on the same day, Governor Murphy announced an adjustment to the original educational directive, making masks mandatory for all students while in the school building.  This was a reversal of the original statement saying masks would only be required of students when proper social distancing was not attainable.

“Some questions we don’t have answers to,” said Grande. “We are all going through this for the first time, and we need to wait and see and be thoughtful and adjust.”

Throughout the public session of the meeting, callers were reminded to continue to check the district’s FAQ document that is being edited, updated and changed each day as more questions, new guidelines and other decisions are made.  

Grande reminded callers that no matter how many plans the BOE had in place for the schools, nothing is foolproof.   “Every plan has some level of risk, we wouldn’t be transparent if we didn’t say that," said Grande. "The BOE is working to minimize risk in all we do.”

On Friday, August 7, the BOE released the Remote Learning Plan with guidelines for participating.  The plan states students can start in-person or remote learning when school opens.   Families may select to switch their child to remote learning at any time with notice to the principal.   However, if a student starts the school year or later switches to remote learning, they can only switch back to in-person instruction on one of four predetermined dates and with a minimum of ten school-days notice in writing to the school principal.   

Grande said a more binding agreement, notifying the district of a student’s attendance in-person or remotely will be required of parents and guardians through the Genesis system by August 17.  The next BOE meeting is tentatively slotted for the same date.  

Editor's Note: Story was updated at 2:44 p.m. to clarify the paragraph on switching between remote and in-person learning.

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