March 12, 2020
Dear Verona Community Members,
The Verona Public Schools continues to monitor the emerging public health issue with COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus. The health, safety, and well-being of our students, staff, and community members is our main priority. The CDC recommends a community-wide approach focused on slowing the transmission of COVID-19 by limiting large gatherings of people and practicing social distancing.
Our schools and community have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at this time. However, in collaboration and discussion with the Montclair Department of Health and Human Services, the Verona Township Office of Emergency Management, and the Verona Board of Education, our school district has made the decision to enact our Verona Public Schools Distance Learning Plan. The decision to transition to distance education is a precautionary, proactive measure in an effort to minimize the potential risk of exposure to possibly infected individuals.
School will be closed for students on Monday (3/16/20) and Tuesday (3/17/20) for professional development for our faculty to finalize their instructional plans. Distance learning via home instruction for students will begin on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
Our school district will continue with our previously scheduled early dismissal day on Friday, March 13th and our faculty will use the afternoon session for professional development as originally planned. Students will be asked to take all of their personal belongings and school materials home at the end of the day tomorrow, Friday, March 13, 2020. We recognize that this school closure will be disruptive for families, but we have a collective responsibility to preemptively address this public health challenge.
All field trips, athletics, school-based activities/events, and Verona Recreation programs are cancelled effective March 13, 2020 until further notice. We are tentatively scheduled to return to school on March 30, 2020 contingent upon the status of this public health concern. We will continue to evaluate this evolving situation and provide updates to the community via email, our district website, and social media.
Our educators are doing an outstanding job in preparing to implement our distance learning plan. There will continue to be communications to families and students in the coming days to keep everyone apprised of details. Additionally, our Technology Department will coordinate the distribution of Chromebooks next week to families who have requested them through the online survey in the Genesis Portal. Details will be communicated in the coming days.
We strongly recommend that families practice recommendations by the CDC, specifically avoiding large gatherings and social distancing as a critically important preventive measure to arrest the spread of the virus. We encourage students to stay home during this prolonged closure. While schools are closed between March 18th through our tentative reopening on March 30th, school Main Offices will be closed. Only select Board of Education personnel will be permitted in our buildings and on school grounds, including playgrounds, fields, basketball courts, and the HBW track.
This is an extremely fluid situation, with developing information coming out every day. We will maintain regular communication with our public health department and school community throughout this school closure. Thank you for your support and understanding as we continue to educate our children while implementing best practices to keep everyone safe.
All my best,
Dr. Rui Dionisio
Superintendent of Schools