River Vale Reopening Plan Update

River Vale Reopening Plan Update
Posted on 07/09/2020
Apples & Books

Dear Parents/Guardians:

We’re eagerly preparing for a new school year, which includes careful planning for the return of in-person instruction.

The River Vale School District has been working for months on reopening strategies that balance health and safety priorities with students’ educational needs. Districts continue to face a fluid situation as the state adjusts policies according to health data.

The state Department of Education has given districts latitude to create their own reopening plans, but all schools must follow certain guidelines, such as social-distancing rules and a face-covering requirement for teachers. Students are also expected to wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible.

We are working on a tight timeline after the state’s 104-page Restart and Recovery Plan for Education was announced on June 26. However, we’ve taken steps to make sure parents are well represented in the planning process.

River Vale has formed a Restart Committee to discuss and weigh decisions surrounding the reopening of schools, and parents make up the majority of the group. The committee, which was designed to reflect the perspectives of all stakeholders, includes parents from every school and grade level; teachers, including special education teachers; school nurses; administrators; and members of the Board of Education, Parent-Teacher Association and River Vale Education Association.  

The Restart Committee’s administrative team has been meeting for weeks, and now the discussion is expanding to subgroups that will address various topics related to reopening.

We’re also in regular communication with other Pascack Valley K-8 school districts that share our goal of ensuring a safe and successful return for staff and students.

Guidance from local and national health experts will continue to shape our strategies. We’re working closely with the county health department, and we’re following the Centers for Disease Control recommendations on reopening schools.

We understand that the extended time away from routines has been stressful for our community. With that in mind, River Vale Public Schools has contracted West Bergen Mental Healthcare to provide social and emotional support to our students, families and staff members. This service, called “Warmline,” is free and completely confidential for them.

Warmline is available between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. It starts with a simple call to (201) 688-7098, which will prompt West Bergen to coordinate a telephone-based counseling session.

As we focus on reopening schools, we are working toward a plan that offers much-needed stability and clarity, but also builds in flexibility to adjust to any circumstances that arise.

Our committee will outline multiple scenarios, and will diligently review the state’s restart plan to make sure every point is addressed.

We will communicate updates on the planning process as they are available.

We hope you are enjoying a fun and safe summer, and we can’t wait to see your children in September!

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Frank Alvarez
Interim Superintendent of Schools
River Vale Public Schools

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