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Coronavirus & School Closure

May 27, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families,

We are aware of Governor Murphy’s announcement yesterday that he will allow high school commencement events after July 6, 2020. Reportedly, he will issue restrictions for such events sometime this week.

In light of the governor’s announcement, are our plans for a virtual graduation and photo op changing? No, they are not. We are moving forward with what is planned and with what was shared with you in my letter on May 20th. (see below photo op and virtual commencement ceremony plans)

Once we learn the governor’s restrictions for what is allowed after July 6th, we will take another look. If we can, we may proceed with some sort of graduation observance. At the moment, I can’t say what that may look like. No matter what, we will focus on what is safe and best for our students.

The governor’s recent announcement is yet another example of how things change quickly during this pandemic. As we’ve said all along, we appreciate your patience, flexibility, and support. With us, we are #LawrenceStrong.

With gratitude,

Ross

Senior Cap and Gown Photo Op: Seniors will have the opportunity for a cap and gown photo opportunity on LHS’s football field. Graduating seniors may bring no more than two adults to take photographs of them as they walk across a decorated stage where the principal, Mr. Adam, will be stationed to congratulate them. Professional photos will also be taken. Students will be given detailed directions along with a scheduled arrival and departure time. Senior Chromebooks will be collected at this time, so bring your Chromebook and power cord. Social distancing will be strictly enforced for everyone’s health and safety. (June 19, rain date June 18)

Virtual Commencement Ceremony for LHS Class of 2020: Our professionally produced virtual graduation will honor all our seniors and include the following: student speakers, the principal’s address, student performances, individual names and photos of each senior, the presentation of the senior class by the LTPS superintendent and the conferral of diplomas by the LTPS Board of Education president. The virtual graduation ceremony will be posted on the LHS/LTPS websites and run on the LTPS cable channel. (June 19, 7:00 pm)

 

May 20, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families,

I am grateful for your partnership as you have supported our district in addition to everything else you are dealing with during this pandemic. I met virtually this morning with our schools’ PTO leaders and representatives of local organizations that support our students. They, too, have partnered with us and are helping to connect, encourage, and celebrate our students.

I hope you enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend commemorating Memorial Day and honoring the men and women who have served in the United States military. This will be a four-day weekend for our district. As we have mentioned earlier, Friday, May 22 is designated on the school calendar as an Emergency Closing Day. This means schools would have been in session if we had needed to make up a snow day or something similar, in order to meet the state-mandated 180 days of school. This is not the case. Thus, there will be no remote instruction on May 22nd or the actual Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 25.

The Memorial Day weekend typically signifies that the school year is winding down and the calendar usually is packed with year-end activities. Not to worry! Although we’re closed, our schools and PTOs have planned fun, virtual events that will celebrate our students, connect them with one another, and help those who will transition to another school.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! I know these times are particularly disappointing for the seniors and their families. Our seniors have worked hard and deserve to be celebrated. We wish we could give them a traditional graduation ceremony. Since that is not possible due to the pandemic, our high school administration has worked hard on creative ways to honor the seniors as well as to plan a virtual graduation ceremony. Linked here is a document sharing ways in which the high school has already honored seniors and plans for upcoming celebratory events, including graduation.

We have received numerous great suggestions from parents about ways we can celebrate seniors and make the end of their high school career special. Some shared what another district in our county is doing, or in our state, or in the country. We will do what we feel is best for our district, always with a focus on not putting our students and staff in danger.

Information about things such as grades, summer school (including the extended school year for classified students), and how to get student belongings, either has already been communicated to parents by the respective schools or departments or will be shortly.

What happens with lunch balances? Positive and negative balances will roll over for all students (including seniors).  Families of seniors have two options as outlined further below. Seniors’ parents should email Mary Beth DiLorenzo (mdilorenzo@ltps.org) and copy Linda Dlabik (ldlabik@ltps.org) to state their request.

Parent options for lunch balances are to:

  1. request a refund. (To request a refund, the email must include the correct spelling of the student's name, the payee for the check, and the mailing address.)
  2. transfer funds to one or more sibling’s accounts.

Requests should be made before July 1 as information within the Point of Sale system will be archived at that time. Reactivating seniors is not possible after the rollover.

As we approach the end of the school year, I know the question on everyone’s mind is, what will fall look like? The answer is, we don’t know yet. What we do know now is that we have to be ready for a range of scenarios, from reopening school buildings to continuing distance learning. 

State and federal public health authorities will determine when and to what extent schools can reopen. Based on what we are hearing now, it is likely that we will need to develop a blended or hybrid model for the fall that combines some in-person instruction with distance learning.  We are beginning to plan for a variety of options and will share more as we know more.

We miss your children. They are the center of…the reason for… our schools. Without them, there is a void.

I hope you can get outside this weekend and invest in you and your family’s wellbeing. Enjoy the promise of summer. Know that together, we will get through this, as we are #LawrenceStrong.

With gratitude,

Ross

 

May 5, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families,

Yesterday, we received the announcement that we have been awaiting: Governor Phil Murphy announced that all New Jersey schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. We share your disappointment, especially that of our high school seniors, yet we understand the decision is focused on the safety of our students and staff.

Here is what we can tell you now:

School Calendar—Memorial Day weekend will be a four-day weekend with no remote instruction on Friday, May 22nd or on the actual holiday, Monday, May 25th. May 22nd is an Emergency Closing Day built into the 2019-2020 calendar. Schools would be in session on that date if we needed to make up a snow day or something similar.

We are changing the last day of school for students from Tuesday, June 23rd to Friday, June 19th. As is customary for our district, we build 181 days for students into our calendar although the state requires 180 student days. Additionally, we provided remote instruction on March 20th when schools were scheduled to be closed for a professional development day for staff. Ending the school year for students on June 19th meets the 180-day state requirement.

Closing School Buildings—we are developing plans for end-of-year protocols for students and staff to get belongings that remain in the buildings as well as to return items usually collected at the end of the school year. Safety and social distancing considerations are essential. We will share details once plans and schedules are finalized.

Prom, Graduation, and 8th Grade Farewell Ceremony—unfortunately, any hope of having these events as we have enjoyed them in the past is dashed. Thus, and in consultation with our legal counsel, we have made the tough decision to cancel the prom. We held out hope to the end, but under the circumstances, hosting the prom is not feasible.

Now that we have the governor’s decision about school closures, our high school, middle school, and district administrators are finalizing plans for alternative graduation and moving up (8th grade Farewell Ceremony) celebrations, again, all with a focus on safety and social distancing. We will share those plans once complete.

Spring Sports—following yesterday’s announcement by Governor Murphy, the NJSIAA officially canceled New Jersey’s 2020 high school sports season. I like, and share below, what the NJSIAA stated in their official announcement. I feel it applies not only to student-athletes but to all students who are disappointed by the door closing on their season or high school career celebrations.

“The last few weeks have been heartbreaking on many levels, from the tragic loss of life, to thousands battling the virus, to millions who have suffered emotional and economic loss. It’s been a harrowing time for everyone, and we know our student-athletes are extremely disappointed. That said, these unfortunate circumstances may have put an intriguing challenge in the path of our young people. As New Jersey’s own Vince Lombardi once said, ‘Its not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.’ We’re confident all our kids will get back up and stand tall.”

Grade Level Transitions and Orientations—not only are we working on how we will close out the current school year, we are looking to the fall, which holds its own unknowns. We are planning for how transitions of students moving up from grades 3, 6, and 8 will occur. Generally, our intermediate, middle, and high schools hold orientations to welcome students and families to their new schools as do the four elementary schools for incoming kindergarten students. Plans for these transitions and modified orientations will be shared at a later date.

I truly appreciate your support and patience as we together work through these challenging times. Many of us are grieving…a few for a special someone they have lost, and many for dreams withheld. Take care of yourself, reach out, connect with, and lift others. We will get through this. As always, we remain #LawrenceStrong.

With gratitude,

Ross

 

May 4, 2020

Governor Murphy extended school closures through the remainder of this 2019-2020 school year. Please regularly check this site for the latest district communications and operations during the closure. Stay safe! #LawrenceStrong

 

April 30, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families,

In mid-April, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy extended the executive school closure order through May 15, 2020. We acknowledge continued school closures are difficult for students, staff, families and our entire community. This was disappointing news for all of us: students miss their friends and teachers, and we miss our students.

Our prolonged closure raises questions for students and families. Will we reopen during the current school year? Can we return to school in the fall? Will we remain closed and continue remote instruction? Will we have a combination of both?

As we await the governor’s decision regarding school closures for the remainder of this year, we are working to answer your questions as soon as possible. Our entire administrative team is working diligently to plan for a variety of scenarios, not only for the remainder of this school year but also for the summer and looking ahead to next fall.

Remote Instruction—we continue to research platforms other than Google Meet and Zoom, looking to find something that not only meets our instructional needs but also functions well on a chromebook.

Class of 2020—as the end of the school year approaches, our seniors may be increasingly disappointed as one by one, events they have looked forward to throughout high school are canceled or modified to observe social distancing. High school administrators and district communications are engaging with seniors to celebrate them and their milestone in various ways. The Project Graduation committee, composed of parents and community members, is delivering lawn signs sharing Cardinal Pride to each senior’s home. To further support our seniors, general graduation celebratory lawn signs are available for purchase from the Project Graduation committee. https://lhsprojectgraduation.org/2020/04/21/purchase-a-lawn-sign-2020/

We will make decisions about the prom and graduation once we learn the governor’s decision about this school year. We discourage car parades as it encourages participants to relax social distancing in the excitement of seeing friends.

Fall Sports—the athletic department is providing rising 9th through 12th graders with a means of signing up for fall sports by emailing the various sports’ head coaches. If we return to school this school year, students will be able to sign up at school also.

Meal Distribution—our food services and transportation departments, in addition to other district staff and volunteers, continue providing lunches for almost 500 students, delivering three days of meals at a time. If you know of anyone who needs lunches, have them email lunch@ltps.org.

Next week, May 4-8, is Teacher Appreciation Week. If you have a chance, please pause and take a minute to thank a teacher(s). We also want to celebrate our fabulous, dedicated teachers and are going to solicit and post via our district Facebook page student messages of appreciation for teachers. If you care to participate, please email to ltpssocial@ltps.info a very short video of your child thanking a teacher or a photo of your child holding a sign expressing their sentiment. Feel free to include your child’s first name and the teacher’s name in the body of the email or in the video and submit your appreciation email by noon on May 8.

We will continue to support our students and families during this difficult time. We are committed to delivering the very best education possible in these unprecedented circumstances and to doing all we can to support students’ well-being. We are a strong community, and we will get through this together because we are #LawrenceStrong.

With gratitude,

Ross

 

April 17, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families,

You may have heard yesterday that Governor Phil Murphy extended school closures through May 15, 2020, at the earliest. While it’s disappointing that the stay-at-home order is extended, together we are resilient and will get through this.

Remote Instruction—as I mentioned in my April 14th update, we will no longer use Zoom for our remote instruction after the current week. Instead, we will use Google Meet and will explore other platforms. If we find one that we feel is safe and protects our students’ privacy as well as meets our needs, we will consider changing. We will notify you of any modifications. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s instruction, please contact their teacher via email.

Technology—we have provided chrome books and/or hotspots to students (K-12) in need. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Lawrence Township Education Foundation (LTEF). When our schools needed to close on short notice, LTEF committed to working with us to identify emerging needs due to the pandemic. Subsequently, the foundation gave our district an unbudgeted $26,085 for 100 chrome books to help fulfill our needs and bring educational opportunities into more students’ homes during the closure.

Class of 2020—we realize the school closure extension is especially disappointing for our high school seniors and their families. We are exploring opportunities to highlight and celebrate them as their high school career draws to a close. It seems the biggest questions surround the prom and graduation. We will share plans once finalized.

I continue to be impressed by our community’s spirit, multiple acts of kindness and offers to volunteer--anything to help our families. In the midst of all this, please be mindful of your and your family’s wellbeing. Some suggestions I’ve heard include: develop a regular work/study schedule, take time for socialization/nature, reflect on good things happening around you, have fun, and … get out of your pajamas!

Thank you once again for your support and patience.

Best wishes for staying well,

Ross

 

April 14, 2020

Video:

https://youtu.be/VNwAJ7LUFHA

Dear Lawrence Families,

I hope you enjoyed the spring recess and got some relief from the stress generated by staying home and the ongoing challenges that brings.

Remote Instruction—remote instruction for our students resumes today.    Please emphasize the importance of taking learning seriously and, just as if they were within their classroom’s walls, doing their best.   Please note: after this week, we will no longer use Zoom as a teaching platform, for the same reason that we were hesitant to use it in the first place. We have found multiple issues with privacy, confidentiality and security with the platform, and we are not willing to potentially compromise our students’ privacy. You may have seen the same concerns reported in the media about other districts or states.

Reopening School—this is a topic on all of our minds. We expect to hear more from Governor Murphy this week about if and when school districts may reopen.  I do not anticipate that we will be back before May 4th at the earliest. I know that this has been difficult for all, and I appreciate your continued support and patience.

Class of 2020—we realize our current situation is particularly hard on our seniors. Consider all milestones and events you looked forward to your senior year as you approached the end of your high school career. There are many questions and uncertainties about the seniors’ year-end activities. Will we have the prom? What about graduation? It is important to acknowledge and celebrate their efforts. We are making backup plans in case we remain closed.  As we approach the end of the school calendar, we need to know the timeline for social distancing and other restrictions before finalizing any such plans. We will share details once we have a clearer picture of New Jersey’s status and what is possible at a given time.

My best wishes for being safe and well,

Ross

#LawrenceStrong

 

April 3, 2020

Video: 

https://youtu.be/ZWg9OBdhJqI

Dear Lawrence Families,

We may be apart but as the Lawrence community, we are together. I continue to be incredibly grateful for our school district, the Lawrence spirit and the caring shown by students, staff, and community.  We truly are stronger together, and I appreciate your continued support.

Our district will be closed for spring recess from Monday, April 6 through Monday, April 13.  We will not provide remote instruction for these days. We will continue our remote instruction plan beginning Tuesday, April, 14.

Some people have asked: Why do we need a spring recess? With the stress and uncertainty of these challenging times, coupled with the pressures of working from home, guiding children through educational experiences, and maintaining some sort of family balance, we all need a break.  Our students’ families are affected by these forces, and our staff members, many of whom also are parents, are as well.  Additionally, changing the school calendar and not taking spring recess so that those days would count toward our state-required 180 school days would create multiple, significant issues.  

We have compiled an extensive collection of activities that you can do while we are on break.  Some are geared toward students, and some can be done as a family. You can access the resources here:

https://padlet.com/lmueller17/li4ieflrj0a1

Governor Murphy has closed all New Jersey school districts until at least April 20th. He has stated that, by that point, he will reevaluate the possibility of reopening schools.  We will keep you informed as we learn more. 

Social distancing and staying at home can be frustrating and isolating. I encourage you to stay connected. I have reached out to friends and relatives with whom I have not spoken in months, as it seemed I could never find the time. These connections have helped. I encourage you to use the current gift of time to not only benefit yourself but to also lift someone else. Please find ways to safely connect with others and to spend meaningful time with your loved ones.  In the end, this is what will be most recalled. And remember, we will get through this.

Stay safe,

Ross

#LawrenceStrong

 

March 27, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families,

Thank you for your steadfast support during these extraordinary times.   I certainly miss students and staff who make our classrooms and hallways come alive.  Please know that we are here for you, and we want the best for your health, education, and futures. 

I know it’s a long haul, but please stay committed to your studies and the modified learning journey we are on together.  I urge you to stay connected yet maintain social distance.  Your health and the health of your loved ones depend on it.

Our school district will be closed from Monday, April 6 to Monday, April 13. We will not provide remote instruction for these days. With stress and uncertainty, coupled with the pressures of working from home, guiding children through educational experiences, and maintaining some sort of family balance, I feel we all need a break.

You may have heard that Governor Murphy announced yesterday that all New Jersey school districts will remain closed until at least April 20th. Thus, on Tuesday, April 14, we will continue our remote instruction plan. We will be in touch and will update you as we learn more about reopening our buildings.

I am impressed with our school community and the Lawrence spirit, pride, and courage shown by students, staff, and community.  It is an ideal time to come together, connect, and lift each other up. As has been said many times, we truly are stronger together. 

With that said, we will have our first ever, district-wide, remote School Spirit Week next week, March 30-April 3.  Below are suggested ways we can unite…remotely…and have some fun!

Monday - Show Lawrence or Cardinal Pride or your school’s colors and celebrate our new hashtag #LawrenceStrong by displaying it in your window.

Tuesday - Students: show your home learning   Staff: show your home teaching.

Wednesday - Crazy Learning from Home Day.  Display a crazy hat, crazy hair, or crazy socks.

Thursday - Learn and have fun with your siblings and pets! Get outside, breathe some fresh air, practice your dance moves!

Friday - Wear gear to support your favorite team. Show us how you are active at home.

I encourage you to send photos of your various Spirit Week activities to Lana Mueller at lmueller@ltps.org by the end of the week. Put “Spirit Week” in the subject line. 

Enjoy the weekend!

With gratitude,

Ross

Cups on Ben Franklin fence reads Everything is Going to be Alright

 

March 23, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families,

We have received a lot of questions about access to Genesis and grading during this time of remote instruction. Our decision to discontinue student and parent Genesis access, for the time being, stems from not wanting to contribute to stress present during these challenging, unprecedented and rapidly changing times. At this time, we do not want to focus on grades and grading and instead want to focus on providing remote instruction and a balance between schoolwork and shelter-in-place family life. It is incredibly difficult to assign grades or focus on scores while in this remote learning environment. Learning and instruction do not require grades. If we are out beyond April 14, 2020, we will reevaluate and determine what will best support our students' learning.

Additionally, the NJ Department of Education has not yet provided guidance to districts on grading or credits. This is a rapidly changing situation for the state as well and they respond to districts as they are able. As you can imagine, there are a lot of considerations.

Once again, thank you for your patience and flexibility. I’m proud of our staff and their hard work as they have responded on short notice as various demands surfaced. They, just like you, are dealing with their family environment while also working to do what’s best for our students. We’re in this together and hope that you understand our decisions are made based on what we feel to be the best direction at the moment. Together, we will get through this. #LawrenceStrong

With gratitude,
 
Ross
 
 
March 22, 2020
 
Please view a video done by Superintendent Ross Kasun and giving an update on the coronavirus and remote instruction.

 

March 20, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families:

These are uncertain and stressful times, as we are all trying to make sense of and respond to our new reality as best we can.   This can be especially stressful for our kids.  They have grown up in a connected world…a world of sharing.  Constant connectivity and sharing with others have become the norm. We now are asking all to observe social distancing and to shelter in our homes to stop the spread of this horrible virus.

I earnestly ask every person to please help with this call for social distancing and sheltering at home.  As seems to be common throughout the ages, young people frequently think they are indestructible. Thus, some young folks are disregarding the importance of social distancing and staying home.  This must stop. Our teens and twenty-somethings are not immune to this virus.  As parents, we must enact strict precautions. I understand it is difficult. However, you do not want to catch or spread this to someone you care about.

We need all students and families to heed the warnings of our public health and government officials.  We want and need community members to stay safe.  This request is being made for the health of our children, the vulnerable, the elderly, the first responders, our community at large, and…for you.  We all have a responsibility in slowing the spread of COVID-19.  

I anticipate additional direction from the NJ Department of Education and the NJ Department of Health in the coming week.  For now, please expect virtual/remote learning to continue until the governor releases the Executive Order.  

Here is our charge—we must adhere to Governor Murphy’s Executive Order and enact social distancing including the following:

    • We must refrain from large gatherings (current recommendation is no more than 10 people).
    • We must protect our children by eliminating playdates and social gatherings.
    • We must avoid gathering on basketball courts, tracks, lacrosse, and football fields.
    • We must avoid playgrounds.

Social distancing does not mean social disconnection.  We must be mindful of physical distancing, yet not lose sight of the importance of connecting with one another.  Please, find ways to connect with others and find resources/supports to manage your children’s and your own anxieties and frustrations.  

Thank you for working with us during these difficult times. We will get through this. Have a safe and healthy weekend!

With gratitude,

Ross

 

March 17, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families,

As I have said many times, conditions and operations relative to the COVID-19 coronavirus change rapidly. And thus, so does our response. The health and safety of our students and staff continue to guide our plans.

In my March 13, 2020 letter when I announced the district’s closure from March 16 through April 13, I stated that our buildings would remain open on a reduced schedule with some essential staff. On March 16, I gave our general hours of operations as being from 8 AM - 12 PM.

Things have changed. In response to the federal and state guidelines issued yesterday in President Trump and Governor Murphy’s press conferences, I am closing all of our buildings and asking the essential staff who have been reporting to the office these past couple days to instead work remotely from home. We will work and meet regularly and remotely using technology. This plan extends until at least March 29, 2020. 

As related earlier, instruction resources for all grade levels are on our website under the COVID-19 Coronavirus section.

We will continue to provide lunches for those students eligible for and enrolled in the free or reduced meal program.

The Board of Education’s (BOE) next regularly scheduled monthly meeting is Wednesday, March 18 at 6:30 PM in the Lawrence High School library. Due to concerns regarding the spread of COVID 19 and the federal and state guidelines regarding social distancing, traveling, and limiting the size of groups, we will live stream the meeting. A link to the live stream setup will be posted on our website. In the spirit of being mindful of everyone’s health, the public is strongly encouraged to view the meeting via the live stream.

A brief presentation on the 2020-2021 proposed budget is on the BOE meeting agenda. This is so the BOE can approve the budget and our business administrator then can submit it to the state. The actual budget hearing is scheduled for May 6, 2020.

If you have questions, please contact your school’s administration. Once again, thank you for working with us and for your flexibility during rapid changes. 

With gratitude,

Ross

 

March 16, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families,

It was only recently that we learned remote learning would be allowed by the New Jersey Department of Education if a “public health-related closure” is needed.  I want to take a moment to thank our teachers, administrators and district staff members who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we could launch our remote learning plan.  

The Plan

Starting today, all Lawrence Township Public Schools (LTPS) officially moved to a remote learning environment through Monday, April 13. Our Spring Recess remains scheduled for April 6 - 10. As we move forward, we will re-evaluate the length of closure and follow guidelines provided by our public health officials to determine if we need to make any modifications.  

Last night, links to the remote learning environments were posted on the district homepage. There are two sections: K-6 Home Instruction Resources and 7-12 Home Instruction

The K-6 Home Instruction Resources site hosts the K-6 learning resources, as well as special education therapist learning plans. These plans also were distributed last week to parents of elementary school students.  All students in grades 7-12 will continue learning via Google Classroom.  Teachers will post weekly assignments.  If students have questions, they should e-mail their teacher(s) or contact them through Google Classroom.  

At this time, schools and the central office will be open from 8 AM - 12 PM Monday - Friday.  If you need assistance, please call instead of going to the school in person.  Please understand that we are here to support you and your children during these unprecedented times and we also are adhering to the guidelines to minimize social interaction.   

Please be mindful of internet and website bandwidth and realize that some visitors may experience difficulties and delays. Never has a country attempted to remotely teach all students at the same time. 

Expectations

I am writing to share expectations for our remote learning experience during our closure.  During this time, I ask for your continued patience and flexibility. This is uncharted territory as well as our first experience in educating almost 4000 students outside our physical walls.  I am confident that our staff members will rise to the challenges ahead.  The experience will evolve over time, as we adjust to a new instructional methodology.  The goal is on learning, not on covering curriculum. 

This is a unique time, and the most important consideration is that staff, students, and families stay healthy.  We have turned off parent access to Genesis gradebook.  During the closure, we will focus on three key strategies: 

  • Feedback, not grades.  
  • Guidance and coaching strategies.  
  • Encouragement and social connection.

We are mindful that members of our school community (including our teachers and other staff) may face challenges ahead.  As such and in the event that a staff member does not hear from a parent or student or see that they have participated in remote learning for more than two days, we have asked that a school district member will reach out to the family via a phone call or email. 

Guidelines for Students and Families: Elementary School

  • A series of learning experiences have been created for students by grade level.  These experiences for the upcoming week will be posted on the district website on Sunday evenings.  
  • Students are asked to complete one activity from each of the following categories daily:
    • Subject Area
    • Health and Wellness 
    • Arts Activity
    • Social/Emotional 
  • Parents should submit questions directly to their child’s teacher.  
  • If a response is not given within 24 hours, please reach out to your child’s guidance counselor or building administrator.

Guidelines for Students and Families: Grades 7 - 12

  • Students should follow teachers’ instructions on their Google Classroom sites.
  • Students are able to complete work on their own schedule and will receive feedback from their teacher.  
  • Students will receive feedback via Google Classroom (not Genesis) from their teachers.
  • It is important that students hit “Submit” when completing assignments via Google Classroom.
  • Students should submit questions to their teachers through Google Classroom or via email. 
  • Teachers will check email, give feedback on assignments, and/or respond to students’ comments and questions within a 24-hour period.  

Please make sure your child has access to their teachers’ Google Classrooms and follows the digital learning calendar. Reminder: district devices and email accounts are only for school-related activities.

  

Student Registration

At this point, we are not registering new students for the district. We will let you know once we resume registration.

Discount School Meal Program

We directly contacted families of students enrolled in and eligible for the free or reduced meal program via email or a phone call.  A weekly distribution schedule is in place.

I want to thank our dining services, transportation, and buildings and grounds staff for working tirelessly and on short notice to put this plan in place. We will continue to evaluate the locations and times for distribution and will make adjustments as necessary to ensure we are able to support the needs of our students and community. 

Additional Information

  • School guidance counselors will maintain contact with students/families, as needed, through email. 
  • Building administration is available to all families through email. 

In closing, I assure you that we considered information and recommendations from a variety of public officials and health professionals when making our decision to close. The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented crisis. It will take all of us working together to get through it—and we will get through it.

Respectfully,

Ross Kasun, Ed.D.

Superintendent

 

March 13, 2020

Dear Lawrence Community:

We have been closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the rapid changes associated with it. With the safety and health of our students and staff paramount, we are taking the following actions.

Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, Lawrence Township Public Schools will be closed and will move to a virtual/remote learning environment.   This closing extends through our spring break. At this point, we anticipate schools will reopen Tuesday, April 14, 2020.  The school district will re-evaluate the length of closure and will follow guidelines provided by our public health officials.

Information will be posted on the district website or sent through verified social media accounts.  Our staff members are committed to our students and do not take our responsibilities lightly. The district will provide an outline of our virtual/remote learning plans in the coming days. As this is a new way of providing instruction for an extended period of time, we appreciate your patience and flexibility.

All afterschool, evening, and weekend activities are either canceled or postponed.   All facility use events and rental activities are canceled.  Athletic practices and competitions are canceled until further notice.  More information will follow about the Spring athletic season.

As of right now, buildings will remain open on a reduced schedule with some essential staff. This will allow us to continue the “business” end of school and to answer questions you may have. If for some reason you need to come to the building, please contact the building in advance. We are happy to help.

Now is a time to protect the public's health.  Allowing for social distancing and limiting exposure is the only strategy that we have in the absence of a vaccine or medical protocol.  We have an obligation to one another to do all we can to help stop the spread of this virus.

We are working quickly and collaboratively in the district to focus on the safety and well-being of our school community. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

This is an evolving situation that may require further changes.  We will notify you If additional closures are required beyond April 13th.

Respectfully,

Ross Kasun, Ed.D.

Superintendent

 

March 11, 2020

Dear Lawrence Families:

Over the past few weeks, our team has been tracking information related to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. I imagine you have been doing the same. These are uncharted waters as the concerns with the Coronavirus are unique. Working together, we will do everything possible to promote the safety and well being of our students and staff.

On Thursday, March 5, 2020, we received guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) that outlines the possibility of using virtual instruction in the event the department of health directs our schools to close.

On Friday, March 6, 2020, all Mercer County Superintendents and Mercer County Health Officials gathered to discuss emergency preparedness plans. Additionally, the NJDOE clarified some of the guidance given in their memo from the day before.

We continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) and our local health officials. We have had extensive communications with the NJDOE, including a conference call with Governor Murphy.

As there now are a few confirmed Coronavirus cases in New Jersey, below is general information about our plans for continued delivery of instruction, in the event the NJDOH or our local health department directs us to close.

Understanding Emergency School Closings

As directed by the New Jersey Administrative Code, school districts must be open for 180 school days. In order for a school day to count, schools must be open with students present. According to the code, virtual days are not permitted. Historically, no consideration has been granted to allow the use of online or virtual school days. However, last week the Commissioner of Education, working in conjunction with the Commissioner of Health and the Attorney General, issued guidance in the event the Department of Health determined a health-related closure was necessary. The guidance indicated a school district could use requirements provided under the Home Instruction code to meet the 180-day requirement. Home Instruction code requires that a student in the regular education program who is on home instruction should receive one hour of instruction per school day. A student in the special education program should receive two hours of instruction.

Will virtual learning days count toward the 180-day requirement?

As mentioned earlier, we received a communication on March 5th from the NJDOE giving school districts guidance about the statutory 180-day requirement.  Specifically, the Department noted that “online instruction” will be permitted to count towards the 180-day requirement when: (1) it is part of a preparedness plan approved by the Executive County Superintendent; (2) it meets the home instruction requirements of New Jersey Administrative Code [N.J.A.C. 6A:16-10.1 (6A)]; and (3) closure was initiated by “a written directive from either the NJDOH or health officer of the jurisdiction.”

How will we deliver virtual instruction?

Our virtual learning plan expands upon our existing practices to ensure the continuity of instruction.

We are well equipped to deliver instruction remotely as all students in grades 6-12 have Chromebooks issued by the district. Our teachers regularly utilize Google Classroom to deliver class resources/activities and assessments.

Teachers and students will continue to use a wide variety of learning platforms. Home instruction resources for each grade level will be posted on our website as outlined below.

Coronavirus Website

We have developed an area of our website that is dedicated to information about the Coronavirus. In addition to home instruction learning resources that will be posted there, the site includes general information about the flu and the coronavirus, FAQs, preventative measures, and our cleaning and disinfecting measures.

How will we know if schools are closed?

We will notify families by the same means we use when announcing school closures for snow days or other reasons:

  • Phone calls to parents/guardians using phone numbers in Genesis, our student information system.
  • Email to parents/guardians using email addresses in Genesis.
  • QuickNews – our district’s free e-newsletter. Subscribe here.
  • Website
  • Facebook – Lawrence Township Public Schools page
  • Twitter

What if schools are open but I keep my child home?

At this time, guidance from the NJDOE states the following: If a parent selects to keep child(ren) home, they are subject to school’s attendance policy.

What will happen with athletics and extracurricular activities in the event we close schools?

Unless otherwise directed by the Department of Education/Health and the NJSIAA, all athletic events and extracurricular activities (including field trips) will be canceled. Currently, we are postponing some field trips and some trips remain scheduled.

What should I do if my family is traveling out of the United States?

If you are traveling out of the United States, please contact your school nurse prior to your child’s returning to school to discuss your child’s re-entry into our district.

Questions dealing with persons who have been exposed to someone confirmed as having the coronavirus, those who are quarantined, etc. should be directed to the health department. Lawrence Township Health Department: (609) 844-7094

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this unique situation together. Information and conditions change rapidly.  We encourage you to remain calm and to be well informed.

Let me assure you, the health and safety of our students and staff is paramount. We will continue to closely monitor the spread of the coronavirus and to provide updates for you.

Sincerely,

Ross Kasun, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Resources:

CDC Travel Advisory

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention FAQ on Coronavirus Website

CDC’s dedicated 2019-nCoV Website

The New Jersey Department of Health

Mercer County Department of Health Department

Lawrence Township Health Department

 

March 6, 2020

As information about the coronavirus continues to dominate the news, I want to reassure you that, as always, the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. We are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19. At this time, two cases tested positive in New Jersey. There are no known cases in our area.

First and foremost, all our actions are guided by the local, state and federal health authorities who are the experts in keeping our communities safe from public health threats. We monitor the agencies’ guidance daily and are in particularly close contact with our local health department.

We are taking extra precautions when cleaning our facilities to limit the spread of germs. Commonly touched areas are given special attention.

We are developing contingency plans so we are ready to respond if widespread illness causes greater impacts, such as school closures. Our administrative team met last night and continued planning ways learning can continue in the event we should close.

We received a communication from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) late yesterday. The broadcast gives guidelines, although vague, on what home instruction would count toward a district’s 180-day attendance requirement during a public-health related and directed school closure. We are hoping to get more guidance today.

There is no talk of closing our district at this time. Additionally, there are no plans to limit field trips or cancel events. However, issues surrounding this virus change rapidly. In the event of closures or cancellations, we will contact you via our notification system and as we do for snow days. Thus, as always, it’s extremely important that we have your accurate contact information. Contact your school’s main office if you are not sure how to change your information within Genesis.

Although the spread of COVID-19 appears to have started in China, it is important to remember that Coronavirus infection is not connected to any race, ethnicity, or nationality. We should not make assumptions about a student’s or staff member’s risk of illness based on any of these factors. Misinformation about coronavirus can create fear and hostility that harms people and makes it harder to keep everyone healthy.

If you are traveling out of the United States, please contact your school nurse prior to your child’s returning to school to discuss your child’s re-entry into our district.

We will continue to keep you informed as things change. In the meantime, continue to follow the guidelines we routinely emphasize as with other respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and throw away tissues.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

It is natural to feel apprehensive when facing a challenge like this one. We understand that you are concerned and encourage you to be well informed. Below are a few resources to help you do that. Thank you for working with us to keep everyone healthy.

Ross Kasun, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

New Jersey Department of Health

Lawrence Township Health Department 

 

February 27, 2020

With the rising concern over the coronavirus, we continue to carefully monitor alerts issued by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and follow their guidance. We also will follow any guidelines issued by the New Jersey Department of Education.

Our school nurses are working closely with the Lawrence Health Department. Additionally, and in conjunction with the Director of Student Services and our principals, the school nurses monitor attendance and continue emphasizing the importance of measures found helpful in preventing the spread of disease.

As with other respiratory illnesses, individuals can help prevent the spread of disease by taking the following steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and throw away tissues.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

As always, parents/guardians should keep your children home when they are sick. They should not return to school until they have been fever-free without medication for 24 hours.

Parents/guardians should notify your school nurse prior to your child returning to school if your family has recently traveled to a country impacted by the coronavirus.

If you have general questions or concerns regarding the coronavirus, please contact the Lawrence Health Department at (609) 844-7094. If you have specific concerns or questions about your child’s health, contact your healthcare provider.

Ross Kasun, Ed.D.

Superintendent

 

January 30, 2020

With the rising concern over the new coronavirus that is currently centered in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, Lawrence continues to carefully monitor the situation and follow guidance provided by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The NJDOH has created a new website with information regarding the virus. Their website will be updated as new information is available. They have provided recommendations for travelers and guidance for health care professionals.

As with other respiratory illnesses, individuals can help prevent the spread of disease by taking the following steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and throw away tissues.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

Reminder to parents: keep your children home when they are sick. They should not return to school until they have been fever-free without medication for 24 hours.

If you have general questions or concerns regarding coronavirus, please contact the Lawrence Health Department at (609) 844-7089. If you have specific concerns or questions about your child’s health, contact your healthcare provider.

Ross Kasun, Ed.D.

Superintendent