Kate Farley 0

Middletown Children Back to School 5 Days a Week

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We are parents, taxpayers, and concerned citizens expressing our desire for all Middletown school children to return to school in person five days per week no later than November 9. There is no justifiable reason to wait until the arbitrary date of December 14 to allow all children back in school every day. Cohort sizes have been steadily increasing since September with no discernible impact on the health and safety of the school community or the Middletown community at large. The New Jersey Department of Health continues to report zero school outbreaks and zero cases from in-school transmission in Monmouth County (source: NJ COVID-19 Dashboard, 10/22/2020). Social distancing is already not possible in most classrooms, so permitting all students to attend in person each day will not impact that strategy. Children and teachers can continue to use alternative mitigation strategies, such as masks and partitions, both of which are approved by the State of New Jersey when physical distancing is not possible. Many districts around the State have begun to reopen full time, and now is the time for Middletown to take that next step as well.

We also request that the District develop a method of insuring students receive snack each day, if lunch still cannot be offered by the schools. Particularly for elementary school children, allowing more than 4 hours to pass without the opportunity to eat or drink something, or remove their masks, is detrimental to their health and well-being. Other districts have introduced staggered snack schedules for inclement weather days, during which a few classes at a time are permitted to have snack in the gym where they can do their best to maintain social distance while they have briefly removed their masks. In recent press conferences, the New Jersey Department of Health and Governor Murphy have emphasized that there have been no outbreaks related to regulated indoor dining. The idea of not having a way for Middletown children to eat as we approach the cold weather season is unconscionable. Surely with staggered schedules and partitions, the District can offer children an opportunity to eat - especially when many other districts around the State have done so. We urge the District to make this issue a priority and come up with a solution as soon as possible.

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