Posted by Mary Judge on 9/18/2020 7:00:00 PM
Dear Parents and Guardians:
I have received emails with recurring questions about why schools are unable to open on October 1st as hoped. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the situation as well as provide an update to our virtual learning plan.
Our district is in need of daily substitute teachers, those who will cover for a teacher who is out for the day. In a non-COVID-19 year, we have many vacancies that are uncovered and we anticipate that our need for these substitutes will be significantly greater given the current circumstances. Because of social distancing guidelines, we are unable to use strategies to cover unfilled positions and require more substitutes than we have in the past. I sent a letter out to the community asking for those who are willing to contact human resources and apply for a substitute teacher certificate. In order to be qualified for a certificate, a person must have sixty college credits, be fingerprinted, and pass a criminal background check. Although we did have interest after the letter was sent and a segment on NBC news aired, it takes time to process the certificates through the State.
The entire state is in a substitute teacher shortage, this is nothing unique to Jefferson Township. The current environment makes it even more difficult to find substitute teachers.
We are continuing our recruiting efforts and will hopefully have a larger qualified and certified pool of substitute teachers to draw upon so we may reopen our schools in the near future.
As I had shared with the community on September 15th, we are continuously reviewing our virtual learning model and identifying enhancements that can be implemented.
I would like to share with you that we are making the following adjustments to our virtual learning model starting on September 28th:
- All English Language Learners and self-contained students (with the exception of Pre-School) will attend school four days a week on the current early dismissal schedule. Virtual Wednesdays will remain as previously scheduled.
- For all virtual learners, we will be combining cohorts and all students will be learning synchronously with their teacher(s) four days a week. Virtual Wednesdays will remain as previously scheduled.
- Students who attend the Denville and Pequannock campuses of Morris County School of Technology will be transported to those sites four days a week. Virtual Wednesdays will remain as previously scheduled. More information regarding individual schedules will be forthcoming from the High School Principal and Supervisor of Pupil Personnel Services.
Please contact your child’s school if you have any questions regarding the above changes to our virtual plan.