BOE holds first in-person meeting since March

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BY BRIGID MCCARTHY

The Spring Lake Board of Education held its first in-person meeting since March on Monday, Sept. 21 in the H.W. Mountz Elementary School gymnasium.  

Much of the meeting was spent on an H.W. Mountz reopening report given by Superintendent and Principal Stephen LaValva, who told school board members, “Our opening has gone as smoothly as we could’ve expected.”

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So far, he noted, the only glitches in the plan are coming from virtual learning.

“Trying to reach our remote learners to the best of our abilities has been a little challenging, to say the least,” Mr. LaValva said. “But we think we are making strides in that area, as well.”

Right now, the district is on stage two of its four-stage school opening plan, with a five-day school week on a shortened schedule and a mask mandate. The plan was developed with guidance from the New Jersey Department of Health and ongoing analysis of success and risk in regards to opening is based on statistics at the school, county and state levels.

“The state tells us every Friday where our county is with regards to what they call ‘Low Risk, Moderate Risk, High Risk, or Very High Risk.’ Every Friday morning ,they put out a publication … they tell us where we are,” Mr. LaValva said.

As schools all around the country approach flu season in a global pandemic, H.W. Mountz has plans in place to track student symptoms, not only to determine in-person admissibility but also to monitor which symptoms are consistent with the common cold and which indicate the presence of a deadly virus.

These morning health screenings put in place by the district will also eventually play a major role in determining whether to move forward and/or backward in the 4-Stage School Opening Plan.

“This is what we are going to implore on all the parents … Please fill out those morning health screening reports, because they are going to become more and more important as we begin to see more symptoms in our children and in our faculty,” Mr. LaValva said. 

The board also approved a policy clarifying the process of switching between modes of learning during the current school year.

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