The Road Back to September

The Road Back to September

Dr. Ridley, Superintendent of Schools

I’d like to share an overview regarding both Governor Murphy’s and the Commissioner of Education’s comments this past Friday regarding the reopening of schools come September. Accompanying their remarks was a 104-page report, The Road Back (Click on Title for full document) which provides an overview of what that process will entail.

It’s not my intention to review each and every point shared though I do want to provide a first-blush reaction and assure our stakeholders that the district is up-to-speed and already in discussion on how best to meet our students come September regarding instruction, extra-curricular activities, cleanliness, social-distancing, meals and more.

Several times, the governor repeated versions of, “There is no one-size-fits-all guidance” and “many differences exist between districts.” He consistently used words and phrases such as “consider,” “avoid,” “limit,” “when possible” and “if feasible.” We do not interpret his words to mean that we can ignore the rules and do as we please—rather we recognize that he understands each district will integrate suggested policies with its own existing curriculum, facilities, parameters and norms. We will be true to our culture.

Those conversations have begun. And they will continue in earnest all summer long. Our leadership team, our teachers and staff, indeed, every single one of our employees understands the gravity of this situation and will remain committed to building-out what works best for Hazlet kids and Hazlet schools.

And while I do not have our re-entry plan ready to share just yet, I can assure you of two things—

1. Instruction will continue; kids will be learning.

2. Every necessary precaution will be taken in order to guarantee as much as possible the safety and good health of our student and staff population. Governor Murphy called a district’s custodial crew the “unsung heroes” of each school and here in Hazlet, we most-certainly enjoy a collection of workers who exhibit that skill-set and sense of commitment.

We will be forming committees, interacting with all stakeholders—including parents and students—and committing ourselves to getting this as right as humanly possible. I will provide updates as the summer moves forward and we expect to have the semblance of a plan ready to share no later than the final week of July. By working together, we will return to a healthy learning environment, in which students and staff feel both physically and emotionally safe.


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