K-8 opening to five days of in-person instruction


Photo by Kaitlin Bavaro

Wilson Elementary School, Westfield, N.J.

Schools are opening for additional in-person instruction due to declining COVID-19 cases nationally. On March 15, Cohorts A and B students in kindergarten, first and second grade will return to a five-day in-person school week, continuing under the half-day schedule. 

Dr. Tiffany Jacobson, principal of Lincoln Early Childhood Center, said she’s “cautiously optimistic” about having a full week. Jacobson said that Lincoln School “can safely operate so long as very specific safety precautions are observed [such as] masking, daily screening, frequent hand washing, adequate ventilation, social distancing, plexiglass barriers, stringent cleaning protocols and closely monitoring for symptoms.”

On March 22, grades three, four and five in Cohorts A and B will be back in-person, five days a week under the existing half-day schedule. 

Alexander Schmidt, a fifth-grade teacher at Wilson Elementary School, is looking forward to Cohorts A and B meeting in person. He said, “Each cohort has its own unique personality,” and “giving the students the opportunity to be with friends they haven’t been with all year, especially in fifth grade where it is their last year of elementary school, is an invaluable gift.” 

Jennifer Buccino, a physical education teacher at Tamaques Elementary School, is also looking forward to students returning to a five-day in-person school week. “I miss the sound of eager students bursting into the gym to play and hope to hear that sound again someday soon.”

On March 10, middle schoolers will attend Wednesday morning sessions in-person, with Cohorts alternating each week and on March 15, middle schoolers requiring special education services are permitted for five days of in-person. 

On April 12, all middle school students are welcomed for in-person instruction five half days a week. 

As for WHS, students have been offered in-person instruction four days a week since Feb. 5. To plan for more in-person instruction in the fourth marking period, parents of high schoolers are being surveyed.

We plan to welcome all of our students back for full-day, in-person instruction in September, and I was glad to hear Governor Murphy state that goal as well. We want our students back, and we want to do it safely,” said Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan in her recent school report.