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Community Update Letter 02/19/2021


February 19, 2021


Dear Springfield Public Schools Community Members:

Please note, a video message to accompany this letter can be found here:

I hope you have stayed warm during our most recent snow!  As much as I love the snow, I am truly looking forward to warmer weather!

The purpose of this letter is to announce that we will soon be transitioning from the A/B Hybrid Instruction Model to the first phase of our Expanded Hybrid Instruction ModelThis model will operate four days a week, with Wednesday remaining as virtual instruction and professional development day during the first phase. There will be no change in the school start and end times.  We anticipate this new schedule to begin Monday, March 15, 2021, based on the completion of the appropriate classroom updates.

Decision Process

Thanks to our dedicated team members, we welcomed students back to the A/B Hybrid Instruction Model on January 11, 2021.  Throughout these last six weeks, our outstanding nursing staff led the district in identifying individual cases of COVID-19 and worked to communicate the information to the community while coordinating with public health officials to implement quarantine measures. 

Since that time, we have had zero student-staff transmission or student-student transmission in the schools. 

On Friday, February 12, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control issued updated guidance for re-opening schools.  It included an in-depth checklist to analyze the school protocols and processes.  In addition, over the last few weeks, we have been looking at what our neighboring districts and districts in other states are doing to successfully expand in-person learning.

After reviewing the district checklist, and studying our facilities, we are proud to share that the systems we have put in place meet the requirements set by the CDC. One of the biggest takeaways from the CDC guidance is the building of systems for “risk mitigation.”  This guidance also provided options for classrooms when a district is challenged by the ‘six-feet of distance’ guidance.  As we evaluated our classrooms and schools for opportunities to expand learning, we identified ways to strengthen the classroom environment while continuing to prioritize the health of our staff and students.

Expanded Hybrid Instruction Model Details

In accordance with the CDC recommendations, we are expanding the use of air purifiers to include every classroom in the district.  We placed the order at the beginning of the month, the purifiers arrived this week, and they will be delivered to classrooms in the coming week.  

In addition, to mitigate the impacts of placing desks in slightly closer proximity, we are adding plexiglass partitions to the classrooms.  For our elementary students, the partitions will be secured to the desks. The classrooms will be modified to support the expanded instruction model on March 8, 9, 10, during the week PK-8 students are remote for teacher conferences.  Students in grades 6-12 will be assigned individual partitions that will move with them from class to class, and will remain on campus to be sanitized daily. 

Another critical shift in this process will be the requirement of each student to commit to either in-person or remote instruction

There will be two specific opportunities for families to identify/change their commitment. 

During the time between these checkpoints, students will be expected to attend in their identified format unless they are specifically excluded for health-related reasons. The sign-up survey will be available beginning Friday, February 19th, and will be open through Tuesday, March 2nd.  The survey can be found here:

The second phase of the expanded hybrid model will be aligned with the start of marking period 4.  Parents will have the opportunity to request a change in enrollment choice in late March/early April, and those students will transition when the fourth marking period begins in mid-April.

As a note, if the number of students choosing in-person instruction exceeds our projections, there may be shifts in classroom assignments and/or delays in our targeted transition to the four-day model.

We will only expand to this model once all of the desks have the appropriate shields in place, so please note that if there are any delays in the supply chain, it may impact the start date.

Throughout this period, we will continue to be in close contact with our local health officials to identify if there is a point where we need to return to the A/B Hybrid Model.  In addition, if our region is moved to a “Very High” or “Red” level of risk by the NJDOH we will consider moving back into a remote-only model as directed by the guidance.

The district will continue to closely adhere to the NJDOH and CDC recommendations, including daily health monitoring and temperature assessment.  Masks will be mandated at all times for all staff interaction.  When a positive case of COVID-19 is reported, we will continue to meet with our local health department and take all necessary precautions, including moving the class to all remote instruction.

We look forward to sharing updates regarding our goals.  Thank you for your ongoing support of our schools.


Rachel Goldberg
Superintendent of Schools