On Wednesday-19-August Superintendent of Bogota Public Schools Mr. Damien Kennedy host a virtual town hall meeting to discuss the plan for starting the 2020-21 school year. Superintendent Kennedy was joined by the Principals of the three schools of the district and a number of administration staff members. He addressed a few concerns about the current health situation. One was, that the guidelines to the school districts in the State of New Jersey are given changed frequently and are announced to the public before districts have a chance to study them. Next is a growth in new positive cases of covid-19 in New Jersey. And that other school districts neighboring Bogota have moved to an all online teaching format.
With this as a back ground Superintendent Kennedy is proposing that Bogota School building should remain closed to Students until mid-October. This will be presented to the Bogota Board of Education at the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday-25-August. Part of his plan is to have Student from all grade levels attend class on line. This includes the Pre-School to 12th grade. Superintendent Kennedy acknowledged they need to work out planning , and details for Special Needs Student so they can continue with the necessary program while maintaining the health of both the Student and Instructors. Teachers will present their lessons from the classroom in the schools. This allows them to have access to their needed educational supplies and equipment. All Students will be required to have District owned Chromebooks, which will have software and needed passwords for full access. Teachers will have control of the links and videos that may be needed as part of the lesson plan. It was also mention that all Students will be required to attend class in a school uniform shirt. Along with a moment for the Pledge of Allegiance, and morning announcements. This is to re-enforce the daily routine the school day.
Superintendent Kennedy said that at the end of the last school year, districts were instructed to allow for a less strict environment. For this coming year, Student will be graded and evaluated on a more rigorous basis. If Students are showing that they are falling behind in their studies, additional online will be scheduled. Lesson will need to be preformed and grading standards will be enforced. School days will be close to the normal time frame with morning, and afternoon, sessions with a meal break in between.
When the meeting was open to Parent comments many understood the need to maintain safety, but expresses frustration on the possible of having to stay home from work. Superintendent Kennedy agreed with their concerns, and sympathized with their situation while hearing the stress in some of their voices. One idea he mentioned was that all the all the school lessons that occur will be recorded so that it can be reviewed at a later time. This will allow Parents to view that days lesson so they can assist their children if needed. Superintendent Kennedy also said that the district will have a number of programs available, in both Spanish and English that Parent can use to help their Students.
Superintendent Kennedy also talked about how that over 40% of the Parents surveyed have already requested permission to have on line learning. Along with the announcements that Teaneck, Hackensack, Palisades Park, and others, have moved to a total on-line learning day. He expressed hope that the situation can improve by mid-October to allow some Students to return to the classrooms. Total on-line learning was also supported by the Teachers Union President Mr. John Sterling. He agreed that the safety of the Students and Teachers are the top priority.
The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday-25-August at 7:00p This would be a virtual meeting with information on how to view this meeting will follow. Updates and announcements from the Bogota Board of Education will be available at: www.bogotaboe.com
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photos courtesy of the Bogota School district