The Montclair PTA Council held a meeting with Dr. Ponds on January 17th. Below is a summary of the proceedings:
NOTES FROM PTA COUNCIL MEETING WITH DR. PONDS 1/17/21
Dr. Ponds expressed interest in continually assessing and addressing the mental health of our kids and creating new academic benchmarks and assessments. He acknowledges that we will be dealing with the fallout from the pandemic for years to come. He is critically focused on getting kids back in the buildings safely and swiftly.
All decisions being made are based on the assumption that everyone has the virus
How do you make the decision/what is your threshold for return?
As expected we saw the holiday bump
Expect the rates to drop (they are starting to drop)
The last 2 weeks the DOH has been sharing with nurses daily updates on positive covid students and the DOH/nursing/district will evaluate accordingly
As of now we are prepared to go back based on the recommendations and info shared. If DOH says it’s not safe, then we push back.
All buildings are using the same cleaners/deemed safe/custodians trained
This is a long term issue. We were told that the short term fixes are complete, middle term fixes are complete/being worked on, a long term 5 year plan has been implemented and is ongoing.
Ventilation and purification systems are ready to go, green spaces are cleared for use, but some bathrooms and landlocked conf rooms will not be used.
Ionization and UV filters are being discussed as LT solutions
1 device per day/per student/discretion of the school as to how to streamline. No personal devices for elementary and middle schools – must be district device.
1-1 ideal, especially with uncertainty of when kids will be in and out. LT they want to move to 1:1 for every student
1/2 students coming in for hybrid
At any given time expectation is for:
30 % capacity at the high school
25 % capacity at MS and most elementary
NE and Bradford higher #s
Teachers will eat anywhere they can socially distance and adhere to spacing rules. (for Glenfield, this should mean they can comfortably space in the cafeteria or eat in their classrooms). If teachers or staff are uncomfortable with the spacing or eating indoors, they can eat in their car or outside when warm enough.
Consent-based batch testing is a possibility to help mitigate spread. Being discussed with the Mayor. MKA currently does this, and we would be the first public school district to implement if we do so.
Health checks must be done by families through genesis before school and temp checks will be done for all at the door
Those who do not follow through with health checks will be flagged and will get calls from district
Related arts – high touch classes will have to be modified
Specifically chorus and band: may not happen. Team is still investigating.
May not be a popular choice, but outdoor classrooms esp for band/chorus /gym = ideal. He’s seen it happen in other spaces (he’s in touch with Millburn and Princeton)
Contingent on weather / flexibility key
Covers on instruments
Also in discussion:
21st century grants at glenfield (3-6pm)
To do/f/u for PTA
Share recommendations for communications and providing a general skeleton plan that can be tweaked by each building :
Breakdown from CO: k-5 / 6-8 / 9-12
Overall high level from CO followed by updates from relevant teams:
Principals / SACs
Confirm ADA accommodations and sub plan, as well as sub bench
Contact tracing for staff moving through multiple buildings?
Will students be able to change from remote to hybrid for MP 4- is deadline for choosing March 13?