SPRING LAKE — As H.W. Mountz makes the final preparations for its reopening on Sept. 9 Superintendent Stephen LaValva said he believes the school will be able to offer childcare for all students who need it.
When H.W. Mountz opens its doors, it will be operating on a half-day schedule with students attending classes in-person from 8:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. After the plan was announced, many parents who worked expressed a need for childcare in the afternoon until 3 p.m.
According to Superintendent LaValva, responses he has received from a survey sent to parents indicated that just under 30 students per day, mostly in the lower grades, will need extended childcare after school hours. He said the care arrangements will be flexible, as many of the students will not need it every day.
“The number of students who have expressed a need [for childcare] … is just about 30. But people also had the opportunity to express whether they’d need to come for all five days. It’s not quite 30 every single day, some people said they didn’t need it until October so there’s some flexibility in there,” Mr. LaValva said on Monday.
“The best news of all is it’s pretty compacted to the pre-k through third grade levels. So those parents who have been waiting very patiently to commit to this care, I am very very confident that we will be able to provide that care from 12:40 to 3,” he said, adding that the cost for the childcare is free.
Mr. LaValva also announced that on Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day before school begins, Mountz will be hosting an orientation for its pre-k and kindergarteners as well as for all new and all remote learning students.
As of Monday, Mr. LaValva said that about 15 students, or 10 percent of the school’s population, has so far chosen the virtual option.
The pre-k and kindergarten orientations will give the young students the opportunity to meet their teacher outside without a mask on before watching her put on a mask and go inside with them “so they’re more comfortable for the next day.”
The school plans to hold an orientation for all students who have chosen the remote option where they can receive any technology they may need for home instruction and discuss how their days will operate.
“For those students that are committed to virtual learning by Sept. 1, we’ll invite them to a special orientation because we want to be able to give them a chromebook for their home instruction. We want to go over how they’re going to go about getting online that very first day,” Mr. LaValva said.
Mr. LaValva said that he would be sending out a video that would go over the arrival and dismissal procedures on Monday, Aug. 31 to all parents of students who will attend school in-person.
Mr. LaValva also requested that the board conduct one final special meeting before school begins to discuss any updates regarding the coronavirus and to answer any last minute questions from the community as well as vote on any last minute staff hires. That meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 6:30 p.m. and will be conducted remotely.
Mr. LaValva also reported that despite the school not being able to accept any new-nonresident tuition students this year as a result of the virus, the school has seen an increase in its student body from 147 students at the end of last year to about 164 as of Monday.
“We were not able to accept new non-residents for this year because of the volatility with our own residents here in Spring Lake, and from some kids that come home to Mountz that have been elsewhere,” Mr. LaValva said at the board of education’s remote special meeting on Monday night.
The school is permitting 10 non-resident students who have attended the school for over a year to return. Additionally, the school is offering attendance for the children of any of its staff members.
“We welcome these new families because it makes us a little more enriched to have more students, so that’s good news.”
This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.
Subscribe today! If you're not already an annual subscriber to The Coast Star, get your subscription today! For just $34 per year, you will receive local mail delivery weekly, with pages and pages of local news and online access to our e-edition on Starnewsgroup.com.–>