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District News

March 11, 2020

Dear Students, Staff, and Families,

Our response to the coronavirus continues to evolve.  While there are currently no known or presumptive cases in our school community, we recognize that some residents of Princeton have been exposed to the virus and may be experiencing symptoms. Consequently, after careful consultation with our local health officials, we are accelerating our preparation to provide remote learning for our students. 

We will now have an early dismissal tomorrow, March 12 and again on Friday, March 13 for all of our schools. Princeton High School will dismiss at 12:30 p.m. this Thursday and Friday. Our elementary and middle schools will dismiss at 1:00 p.m. 

We will use this time to continue our preparation for remote instruction as well as to organize meals for our nearly 500 students who participate in the federal lunch program.  Please note, we have postponed elementary school conferences scheduled for Thursday afternoon. If you were scheduled to meet with a teacher tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, those conferences will now be held at a later date. 

As a further measure to mitigate the spread of the virus, we have also been advised by our health officials to implement the next level of “social distancing.”  We are, therefore, temporarily postponing events that would bring larger numbers of parents, community members, or visitors into our schools. Building principals will be providing more information to their respective school communities regarding the events that will be affected. Please look for that.

At this time, we are carefully monitoring the situation to determine our plans for school next week. We are in ongoing communication with municipal health officials who anticipate they will soon receive results for local residents who have recently been tested for COVID-19.  The decision to implement remote learning for our students is one that considers multiple factors and will be made after careful consultation with our local board of health, the local department of health and the New Jersey Department of Health – all of whom are following the best and latest guidance from the CDC.  I will be in touch as soon as I learn more.

While the health experts speak of “social distancing” as a way to mitigate the spread of this pandemic, I believe it is our social connections that will ultimately guide us through it.  I am grateful for the compassion people have shown for those who are feeling anxious or vulnerable.  I am grateful for those who have offered to help in any way with the provision of instruction or food.  I am grateful for those who speak with calm and care knowing our children feel our emotions and follow our lead.  And I am grateful for those who look past stigmas and stereotypes to treat all people with respect regardless of ethnicity or country of origin.

Thank you for supporting one another.  We will get through this together. 

Sincerely,

Steve Cochrane
Superintendent

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