October 26, 2021
Dear Springfield Public Schools Community,
I hope that you and your family are enjoying the fall activities around town- it has been so wonderful to see some of our traditions such as the Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat returning this year!
I’m writing this letter to share an update and a reminder.
First, as a reminder, our schools will be open on Monday, November 1st, and Wednesday, November 3rd of next week. Schools will be closed for students on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2nd. Schools will also be closed for the NJEA Convention on Thursday, November 4th, and Friday, November 5th.
If your family is traveling out of the country, an unvaccinated student(s) will not be able to return to school until they have the appropriate negative COVID-19 tests in the timeframe set by the CDC. Information regarding this process was shared in a prior communication from Mrs. Tiffany Boehm. If your child has to remain quarantined upon return, please reach out to your school principal, nurse, and/or teacher(s) so that they can share the appropriate resources.
Second, I am very excited to announce the first phase of our return to the Edward V. Walton Early Childhood Center will begin Wednesday, November 3, 2021. The work on the back portion of the building is being completed, and we are looking forward to transitioning from five buildings down to two! We will continue to utilize most of the classrooms at the St. James space, although some classrooms will be returning to Walton school. It is important to note that work continues in the Walton building, and students will be kept separate from any work being done in the building during the school day. The move is scheduled to impact instruction for Walton students as follows:
- Virtual Early Dismissal for all Walton students on Wednesday, Nov. 3rd;
- Students remaining at St. James will have in-person Early Dismissal on Monday, Nov. 8, Tuesday, Nov. 9, and Wednesday, Nov. 10;
- Students returning to Walton will have virtual Early Dismissal on Monday, Nov. 8, Tuesday, Nov. 9, and will return for an in-person Early Dismissal transition day on Wednesday, Nov. 10;
- All students will return to a full day of in-person instruction on Thursday, Nov. 11th;
- While we believe this schedule provides the appropriate time frame, we will alert families if there are any unforeseen issues that complicate this plan.
It is important to note that the process for moving back into the building is not an easy one, and while we are looking forward to using the upcoming days off to assist in the moving, we are also working to minimize school closures. Our plan includes utilizing time after school and on the professional development day for teachers to pack their classrooms. The moves are anticipated to begin on November 3rd, and the early dismissal days in the following week provide time for staff to unpack their classrooms and prepare for the arrival of students.
We recognize that this presents a hardship for our families, and we can only assure you that we are working as hard as we can to minimize the disruption while returning to our classrooms. In addition, the decisions of which classrooms to move back into Walton are based on a variety of factors, and we ask that you respect the time and consideration made to identify which classrooms are returning to Walton and which will remain at St. James. Mr. Plias will be sharing more specific information with the Walton school community.
Finally, I want to share a note of gratitude and ask for your assistance. Similar to other districts across the state and country, we continue to be challenged by a lack of substitute teachers and teacher aide job candidates. Recently, the state approved the ability for college students to be eligible for a substitute teacher credential, and if you know of any currently enrolled students interested in supporting us- please send them to apply! In addition, we have wonderful opportunities for classroom aides and can work with flexible schedules to provide the support that our schools and classrooms need. Candidates interested in joining our team can apply here: Employment
Our teachers and administrators have been working to fill these gaps, and I am incredibly grateful for their support and commitment as we work through the challenges posed by a continually shifting social and economic landscape. Please take a few minutes out of your day to share your gratitude and support with our teachers and staff for their work.
Thank you all for your ongoing support of our schools.