Vineland Public Schools students and staff returned for in-person instruction today, the first time in nearly seven months following nation-wide shut downs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the school year started with virtual instruction on September 3, Tuesday’s return to the classrooms in many ways felt like the true start to the year.
The district has taken an abundance of caution in preparing for in-person learning over the last few months. All students and staff are now required to wear masks throughout the day. For students riding the bus, hand sanitizing stations are available and encouraged to be used upon entering and exiting the vehicle. Staff members will be stationed at entrances for arriving students, who will have their temperatures taken with a thermal camera upon entering the building, along with receiving a bagged breakfast. Bus seating charts and classrooms have been modified to promote social distancing in an effort to keep students six feet apart. Students will see brightly colored markers on floors inside and outside of the buildings indicating the proper distance when walking or waiting in line. At the close of the school day, students will receive a lunch to take home.
“We were very excited to see our students in person today,” said Superintendent Dr. Mary Gruccio. “From what we’ve heard, things ran very smoothly and we look forward to welcoming our second group of students on Thursday.”
The hybrid return to school model has students broken down into four cohorts. Cohort A students attend in-person on Monday and Tuesday. Cohort B attends on Thursday and Friday. Cohort C, comprised of specific categories of students, including special education and transitional first grade students, attend all four days. Cohort D will remain on all virtual instruction. All days are legal attendance days for students. Both students and staff members at all buildings, including the Landis Administration Building, will work remotely on Wednesday’s to allow for deep cleaning of the buildings. Custodial staff will work throughout the day to conduct additional disinfecting measures with prioritization on frequently used or shared areas, as well as “high touch point” items. These include bathrooms, gym areas, cafeterias, security stations, door knobs and levers, switches and knobs, plumbing fixtures, tables, and more.
Food distribution will continue during the hybrid schedule. On-site breakfast and lunch will be served on Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday for students attending in-person. Parents or guardians can pick up meals for the rest of the week on Mondays from 9-10:30 a.m. for middle and high school students or 10-11:30 a.m. for elementary and preschool students. Students in Cohort D will receive food for all five days and can pick the meals up at the times listed for their grade level. Meals are free and available for all students. Parents are reminded to bring their child’s identification number when they pick up food.
This year, AlphaBest Education will be offering before and after school programs in each school. AlphaBest’s program features an hour of enrichment each day in addition to snacks, homework help, and recreation. More information can be found at https://www.alphabest.org/vinelandnj.
For more detailed information regarding our return to school, please visit our website here: http://www.vineland.org/2020-21-school-year-information
The full district reopening plan can be found here: https://bit.ly/2SRXaPG