Union City Public Schools will take advantage of Governor Phil Murphy’s decision announced earlier this week, that schools may open virtually in September as long as they have a plan in place allowing them to safely return their students to the classroom for in-person instruction later this academic year.
Superintendent Silvia Abbato explained the District’s decision in a letter to parents and guardians on Friday:
Dear Parents/Guardians: As you have been made aware, our original plans were to open our schools in September for an in-person hybrid plan of instruction. Since that decision was made, numerous districts throughout the nation have reopened and have seen an increase in their COVID-19 infection rates. Infection rates have also increased over the last few weeks in our own state. This concerns me, as well as our community stakeholders. We must realistically base our decision on data and what is taking place in other districts nationwide.
Due to continuing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and after careful consideration of the feedback from all of you, our staff, and the community, we have made the difficult decision to not open the Union City Public Schools for in-person learning in September and to move to entirely virtual learning for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. This decision is based, as always, on our primary mission: protecting the health and well-being of our students and staff, while still providing an excellent education to our students.
We realize that no technology or programs can take the place of a highly qualified teacher providing in-person instruction. Please be assured that Central Office staff, as well as school administration, have been working diligently to ensure that the virtual learning experience will parallel, as closely as possible, the education that our students normally receive in person. Virtual learning will utilize our district-developed curriculum and will be taught by teachers via Zoom, FlipGrid, Google Classroom, etc., and teachers will upload all assignments online via Google Classroom and other virtual school platforms. Students will be expected to adhere to the district’s attendance policy, just as they would in person. To that end, virtual learning will follow a set schedule — Monday through Friday. Further details regarding the district plan and virtual schedule will follow next week and will be posted on our website and social media platforms. More detailed information will also be mailed home by our schools.
Our district looks forward to being able to re-evaluate our plans with an expectation that we will be able to move towards our Hybrid In-Person Learning Plan, provided that the data supports this decision as we continue to plan and prepare. We are, and will continue to be, a high-achieving school district, never forgetting that our number-one priority continues to be the safety and well-being of our students and staff.
We are aware that this decision, in unison with other Hudson County school districts, will create challenges for all of us. Please know that it has been made with the best interests of the students, their families, our staff, and our community in mind, which is always our highest priority.
We will continue to provide loaner laptop computers and free Internet access to all students who need them. We also plan to continue our grab-and-go meal service, providing weekly packages of breakfasts and lunches to our students. If your family is in need of either, please contact your child’s school to request assistance. Also, if your child is newly enrolled in the district, you may reach out to my office at (201) 271-2289, extension 1, and we will assist you.
Thank you for your continued support of the Union City School District, and please stay safe!
Superitnendent of Schools
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