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Reopening Our Schools

School Will Be Different in September

August 6, 2020

PPS is encouraging all parents to take a survey about their plans for the fall. The deadline to turn in the survey has been extended until Monday, August 10. Here is the link to the survey.

If you have any problems please email


Here's a short presentation about how school will be different in September.


Message from Acting Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction

Dear Parent,

I hope this finds you and your family well.

As August arrives, my colleagues and I are deep into planning for the arrival of our new academic year in September. Our journey from our abrupt closing on Friday, March 13 to our anticipated opening on Monday, September 14, has been an arduous one.

Now that we’ve put in place the broad outlines and some details of how we expect to provide safe schools and robust learning beginning in about six weeks—you can access our school district’s overall plan here, District Reentry Plan, although we frequently update it—we seek your input regarding your family’s specific needs.  To that end, we respectfully request that you immediately complete the attached survey and return it to us no later than Monday, August 10 at 6 PM.

Of course, we recognize that circumstances related to NJ's progress in confronting COVID-19 may change over the next several weeks and, with that, our families’ and staff members’ health, financial, and personal situations may change as well.  But, by providing your responses now, you’ll enable us to refine our plans to accommodate your and your neighbors’ needs as best we can.

With your thoughtful and prompt reply to the survey, we’ll move forward with refining, in a deliberative manner, school schedules and procedures that will allow both you and us to plan for the fall.  So, it’s vitally important that you share with us your current thinking.

Please complete one survey for each of your children.  The questions focus on each individual student’s need (or not) for transportation and childcare (the latter only for elementary-school pupils) and on which model—hybrid schooling (in-person and remote) or all-remote schooling (100% remote) you see as best for your family.

September Reentry Survey - English


Robert A. Ginsberg
Acting Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction


Queridos padres:

Espero que usted y su familia se encuentren bien.

A medida que llegamos al mes de agosto, mis colegas y yo estamos planeando la llegada de nuestro nuevo año académico en septiembre. Nuestro viaje desde nuestro cierre abrupto el viernes 13 de marzo hasta nuestra próxima apertura el lunes 14 de septiembre ha sido arduo.

Ahora que hemos establecido los esquemas generales y algunos detalles de cómo esperamos proporcionar escuelas seguras así como de proveer un aprendizaje sólido en aproximadamente seis semanas. Si desea puede acceder al plan general de nuestro distrito escolar aquí, Plan de reingreso del distrito, que está siendo actualizado con frecuencia. 

Es por este motivo que solicitamos su opinión respecto a las necesidades específicas de su familia. Con ese fin, le pedimos su colaboración para completar de inmediato la encuesta adjunta y nos la devuelva  a más tardar el jueves 6 de agosto.

Por supuesto, reconocemos que las circunstancias relacionadas con el progreso de NJ en la confrontación de COVID-19 pueden cambiar en las próximas semanas y, con eso, la situación con respecto a la salud, la situación financiera y personales de nuestras familias y miembros del personal que también podrán cambiar. Pero, proporcionando sus respuestas inmediatas, nos permitirá refinar nuestros planes para satisfacer sus necesidades y las de sus vecinos lo mejor que podamos.

Con su pronta y rápida respuesta a la encuesta, avanzaremos con los detalles, de manera deliberada, sobre los horarios y procedimientos escolares que nos permitirán tanto a usted como a nosotros planificar para el otoño. Por lo tanto, es de vital importancia que comparta con nosotros su pensamiento en la actualidad.

Por favor complete una encuesta para cada uno de sus hijos. Las preguntas se centran en la necesidad (o no) de cada alumno individualmente  tanto para el transporte como el cuidado de niños (este último solo para alumnos de primaria) así como el modelo que elija : escolarización híbrida (en persona y remota) o escolarización totalmente remota (100% remota), lo que a usted le parezca mejor para su familia.

September Reentry Survey - Spanish


Robert A. Ginsberg
Superintendente Interino para currículo e instrucción


August 1, 2020
Proposed Re-entry Plan as of July 28

School Calendar

School will begin on Monday, September 14, instead of on Wednesday, September 9.  School orientation plans will be announced in August.

•These calendar changes allow for robust professional training for our staff in:

•Canvas (the new learning management system).

•Trauma-Informed Practices (to enhance the social, emotional, and mental health of adults and students who have experienced pandemic and racist trauma).

•Effective use of aides in remote-schooling.

•Better hybrid learning and the opportunity to eliminate some of the problems that arose during the sudden switch last spring to remote schooling.

In addition, our starting date delay will give the Technology  Department another week to ensure that all the devices we have purchased for our students are ready to go on Day One.

Revised Features of the July 20 Reopening Plan

•PPS can transport students home at 1 pm daily with the exception of Pre-K and students in self-contained Special Ed classes who will be bused home at 3 pm. PPS has investigated every possible option with our contracted bus service provider and there is no option of split session bus transportation. Siblings will be transported at the same hours when possible.

•In-person schooling for most students will take place from 8:30 to 1 pm. From 1  to 3 pm,  teachers will provide online contact and instruction to  learners. This enables teachers to hold students accountable for their remote learning assignments from earlier in the day and to assess their progress.

•PPS will provide a focused professional-development (PD) program for all teachers and aides so they can provide rigorous, standards-based instruction for both in-person and remote learning formats. We will take  advantage of the 1:1 initiative that places computers in the hands of all students. Aides will receive devices so they can effectively support students and teachers.

•After-school activities, clubs, and events won't resume until January 2021.

Schooling Models

Based on the Governor’s The Road Back:  Restart and Recovery Plan for Education, there are three options for which school districts must plan for September:

Fully-Opened Model
We can implement this model only after the State of New Jersey has completely removed all pandemic restrictions.

Hybrid Model
The hybrid model provides both in-person and remote schooling as detailed in the ensuing slides.

Remote-Only Model
Last month, parents indicated in a survey that 15 to 20% of students may not return in the fall. For those students, PPS will provide a remote-only option if approved by the Department of Education . 


Student and Staff Safety
The safe return of students and staff is the primary concern.  PPS will provide an environment  following recommendations from the CDC, the NJ Department of Health,  and municipal  health officials. Each school has a Pandemic-Response Team, consisting of staff members and parents, to review decisions.

Facilities Readiness
PPS is  adapting school buildings to meet social-distancing requirements that include isolation and treatment areas.  All six schools are currently undergoing referendum-approved construction. The hybrid re-entry model depends on timely completion of this construction. There will be some construction at PHS during the school year but it will not affect classes. 

For a successful hybrid plan, the district needs:
•The timely arrival of ordered PPE supplies
•Tents  or other outside structures -- the YMCA has offered  to loan tents to the district,  FEMA funds  may supply more
•Safe bus transportation protocols
•Teachers who are willing to work in person

Districtwide: Overview of Safety and Other Precautions, Part I 

•Social distancing and space requirements limit PPS to a hybrid-schooling model.
•PPS will follow  school re-entry guidelines and require students to wear masks .
•Social distancing,  shield wearing, plexiglass dividers, daily assessments of student and staff members' health, hand-washing and/or sanitizing stations, and weekly deep-cleaning will be implemented. 
•Visitors to the schools will be limited and allowed only if they follow safety protocols.
•There will be medical isolation areas in each school.
•District nurses are being  trained in contact tracing. 
•Families who prefer all-remote learning may choose that option if approved by the State. Staff who request to work remotely will receive assignments that will support these students if this option exists.
•PPS is  working with the  YMCA and other community agencies to provide options for childcare during hybrid schooling.

Districtwide Overview of Safety and Other Precautions, Part II 

•The NJSIAA (the governing body for NJ high-school sports) will delay definitive decisions regarding athletics until September 15.
•Employee assignments will be adjusted to assist in morning arrivals at our schools. 
•PPS  will implement a new learning management system. There will be training for staff members, parents, and students to support our transition to this platform, called Canvas.
•In the scenarios that follow, students doing in-person learning will be divided into two cohorts, A and B.


•Pupils attend school four days per week with a 1 PM dismissal on M-Tu and Th-F.  On Wednesday, schooling will be remote from 8:30 to 1 PM.
•Staff members will wear masks. PPS encourages parents to have all children use face coverings. 
•Bus schedules will be developed to allow siblings to ride together when possible.

Grades K-5 

  • Cohort A attends school in person on M-Tu and learns remotely W-F.  Cohort B learns remotely M-W and attends school in person on Th-F.
  • In-person days take place from 8:30 to 1 pm.  Teachers will interact with their remote learners daily, between dismissal and 3 pm.
  • Special Education pupils in self-contained classes (one cohort) attend school five days per week, 8:30-3:00 on M-Tu and Th-F, and 8:30-1:00 on Wednesday.
  • Learning for most pupils is remote on Wednesday to allow:
  • Custodial staff to fully sanitize classrooms and common spaces before a new cohort arrives. Deep cleaning will also take place on Saturday.
  • Teachers and students to become accustomed to all-day remote schooling in case we have to close because of local COVID or flu infections. 
  • For ongoing staff planning and training to support instruction from  1 to 3 pm. Our calendar adjustment eliminates some professional development days.

Grades 6-12 

•During an A Week, cohort A attends school M-Th; cohort B learns remotely.  During a  B Week, cohort B attends school M-Th; cohort A learns remotely.
•School dismisses, M-Th, at 1 pm. Teachers interact with their remote learners daily, M-Th, between dismissal and 3 pm.
•Transportation needs necessitate a 1 pm dismissal and no lunch will be served, which means minimal loss of instructional time as compared to a full day and eliminates challenges related to distancing and mask-wearing during meals. 
•Special education students in self-contained classes (one cohort) attend school five days per week:   8:30- 3:00, M-Th; 8:30-1:00, F.
•Remote-schooling on Friday, for most students, with teacher support, 8:30-1:00, allows:
•our custodial staff to sanitize fully most classrooms and common spaces before a new cohort arrives.
•teachers and students to become accustomed to all-day remote schooling in case we have to close because of local COVID or flu infections.  
•for ongoing staff planning and training to support instruction, 1:00-3:00, and elimination of some professional development days from our calendar to enable sustained instruction.
• a swing day for when a holiday eliminates one of the other weekdays.
•Alternating in-person attendance weekly provides more continuity of instruction, particularly for long-term projects and lab experiments. Additionally, a weekly model enhances our ability to determine if students develop adverse health symptoms.

Students with Special Needs 

•Special-education students in full-time, self-contained classes, PK-12, attend in-person school daily.
•Students who require related services receive instruction during their in-school time.

Arrivals, Departures, Movement, and Other Arrangements 

•Each  school will implement safety protocols to keep students socially distanced during physical transitions into and out of school buildings and from one classroom to another.
•In the elementary schools, specials teachers will come to pupils' classrooms to reduce mass movement through halls. 
•JW and PHS will use block schedules and a staggered passing time to minimize the number of students in hallways during transitions. 
•To the extent possible, teachers may use outdoor spaces for classroom instruction.  In elementary schools, lunch will take place outdoors in good weather; in inclement weather, pupils will eat in their classrooms. 

Instructional Paradigm for Remote Learning 

•In-person schooling focuses on direct teaching, guided instruction, and ongoing assessment and feedback. 
•During remote schooling, which includes both synchronous and asynchronous instruction, students read supplemental texts, complete independent tasks and projects, and engage in small-group activities. Zoom sessions take various forms, including individual conferencing, small-group interactions, and, more rarely, whole-class sessions.
•Teachers address specific curricular standards through  experiences and assignments that meet course or grade-level learning expectations. Follow-up occurs during in-person schooling to hold students and teachers accountable for the formers' progress.
•All teachers utilize Canvas, the new learning management system.

Community Engagement

After disseminating our tentative plan, which reflected input from staff members from most job categories and all schools, we convened our administrators and supervisors for two days and had them analyze and critique our proposal from the perspectives of teachers, students and parents. The result is this revised version of our initial plan.

In addition to inviting community input via email (PPS received over 100 emails that have helped shape and refine plans), there will also be two Zoom forums:

•Tuesday, July 22 for staff members who served on our committees to develop the plan
•Thursday, July 23 for parents who are on the executive boards of our PTOs.
•In addition, we invite everyone—students, parents, staff, community members—to submit questions about this revised plan by emailing  Based on these questions and on feedback in our forums, we will refine our plan and submit it to the Board of Education for consideration at the July 28 public board meeting.
•On Thursday, August 3, PPS will submit the Board-approved plan to the NJ Department of Education. 

The health and safety of our community of learners and providers will guide our final plan.

Summer School

Summer School will be virtual for the month of July. We look forward to supporting remotely our many students who attend our Extended School Year program as well as our STARRS, LEAP, ESL and JUMPSTART programs and the various summer courses offered at the high school.  If there is an opportunity to bring some of those students into our buildings safely at the end of the summer to get them acclimated for the start of the year, we will certainly try to facilitate that.

September and the 2020-2021 School Year 

What will happen when school starts again in September? PPS has established a Re-Entry Leadership Team of nearly 30 administrators, teachers, support staff and Board members who are considering this question. We are viewing all answers through the lens of Health, which we are categorizing in three ways.

We will be sharing the PPS roadmap for reopening PPS schools on this page. Schools will look very different in the fall. For an idea of what we might expect, please take a look at some of the resources to the right. If you would like to consider some of the complexities of reopening, consider this document, 283 Questions about School Reopening, by Dr. David M. Aderhold, Superintendent of Schools, West Windsor - Plainsboro Regional School District.

Here is a recent article from the New York Times about remote learning:

“The two most authoritative reviews of the research to date, examining the results of nearly 300 studies, come to a similar conclusion. Students tend to learn less efficiently than usual in online courses, as a rule, and depending on the course. But if they have a facilitator or mentor on hand, someone to help with the technology and focus their attention — an approach sometimes called blended learning — they perform about as well in many virtual classes, and sometimes better.”

Parents who have thoughts, comments or questions about remote learning in PPS summer school or plans for the 2020-2021 school year: Please email

July 1 Letter from Dr. Galasso

Dear Parents,  

Today is my first official day serving as PPS Interim Superintendent of Schools. I  am  fortunate to have met many of you through Zoom meetings and phone calls. Thank you for the warm welcome you have extended. For those of you I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, I look forward to seeing you both in person and virtually  in the near future.  

We have many important decisions to be made in the next weeks regarding the reopening of our schools. The health and safety of our students and staff remains my top priority. I will emphasize  transparency and welcome your feedback  as we move forward. I want to hear your thoughts and I encourage you to offer input to proposed plans as they are disseminated.   

 My goal is to provide  preliminary reopening details to parents by  early August.  Our reopening teams have visited every school building to evaluate needs such as physical distancing markers, plexiglass shields, hand sanitizer dispenser locations, and other crucial changes that need to be made to the buildings prior to reopening. We are closely monitoring fall enrollments in our schools as part of our planning.   

The re-entry  plan will, out of necessity, be fluid. Modes of instruction and attendance patterns may change abruptly. As individual states reopen this summer, we will keep a close watch on COVID-19 spread. An increase in the number of cases in New Jersey or Mercer County, a spike of illness in Princeton, or an outbreak of illness among our PPS staff may affect our plans. We will prepare for as many options as possible, including following state guidelines for mandatory quarantines for students and families arriving here from other states.  

Educational institutions have never dealt with  a pandemic  on the scale we are now experiencing. I will draw on the talents of our staff, health officials, town leaders, and Board of Education members, as well as my 35 years of executive leadership to develop our options. Our decisions will be based on scientific evidence supported by our medical advisors, the educational and health needs of our students, and common-sense.  

I look forward to working with a community that takes pride in its guiding principles of providing fair and equitable opportunities for all.  


Dr. Barry Galasso I
Interim Superintendent 
Princeton Public Schools



Reopening Our Schools

PPS Restart and Reopening Plan

Princeton High School Reopening Plan FAQ as of July 28

New Jersey Department of Education
The Road Back
Restart and Recovery Plan for Education

Risk Reduction Strategies for Reopening Schools
Harvard School of Public Health

American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines

Scheduling the COVID-19 School Year

Ensuring Equity and Racial Justice in Reopening School Buildings

10-4: How to Reopen the Economy by Exploiting the Coronavirus’s Weak Spot

NJEA Education Recovery Plan

Cult of Pedagogy Reopening School: What It Might Look Like

Transform: Generating Ideas and Actions in our School Communities

Searching for a New Normal in New Jersey's Public Schools

Maryland's Recovery Plan for Education

NPR: Remote Learning Could Go On For Years

Unicef: Framework for Reopening Schools

Questions About School Reopenings

Opinion: Communities Should Keep University Campuses Closed

We Have to Focus on Reopening Schools

U.S. Pediatricians Call for In-Person School This Fall

News Analysis:
Did Closing Schools Help?

NYT: Why a Pediatric Group is Pushing to Reopen Schools this Fall

August 2020

Reopening Schools in NJ

July 2020

How to Reopen Schools Safely, NYT

The Risk that Students Could Arrive at Schools with Cornovirus, NYT

May - June 2020

Remote Learning Could Go On for Years

Unicef Framework for Reopening Schools

Mental Health Resources

You can talk to trained counselors 24/7:
Call: 1-866-488-7386.
Text: START to 678678
(24/7, TEXT or CALL): 888-222-2228
TransLifeline 877-565-8860 (10am-4am)
If you need crisis support, text NAMI to 741741

Community Resources

Struggling to pay bills during
the Coronavirus Outbreak?

¿Tiene dificultades para pagar sus cuentas durante el brote del Coronavirus?

Looking for resources during the coronavirus outbreak?

Reopening Our Schools Committee Members

Karen Athanassiades, Teacher, Riverside
Mridula Bajaj, Supervisor of Science, Professional Development
Jessica Baxter, Principal, Princeton High School
Matt (Matthew) Bouldin, Business Administrator
Donna Bradin, Transportation
Jason Burr, Principal, John Witherspoon
Patrick Cavanagh, Riverside/Facilities
Timothy Charleston, Assistant Principal, John Witherspoon
Elizabeth Collier, Communications
Micki Crisafulli, Director of Special Services
Kristina Donovan, Director of Guidance
George DiFerdinando, Princeton Health Department
K. Lee Dixon, Food Service Director, Nutri-Serve
Brian Dzbenski, Athletics Director
Marian Figueroa Toro, Dual Language Immersion Teacher, Community Park
Barry Galasso, Interim Superintendent, Princeton Public Schools
Krista Galyon, Director of Technology
Lindsey Garriton, Teacher, Johnson Park
Lisa Goldsmith, Health/Nursing Coordinator
Jeffrey Grosser, Princeton Health Officer
Dineen Gruchacz, Principal, Community Park
Ellen Hale, Teacher, Community Park
David Harding, Facilities Director
Dafna Kendal, Board of Education
Susan Kanter, Board of Education
Eric Karch, Support Staff, PRESSA Representative
Patrick Lenihan, Supervisor of the Arts
Liz Lien, Teacher, Riverside
John McCann, Teacher, PREA Representative
Bryan McKenna, Teacher, Littlebrook
Luis Ramirez, Principal, Littlebrook
Sarah Schwimmer, Teacher, Littlebrook
Mark Shelley, Principal, Riverside
Angela Siso Stentz, Principal, Johnson Park
Renée Szporn, Teacher, Princeton High School, PREA representative
Ashante Thompson, Instructional Assistant, John Witherspoon
Valerie Ulrich, Grant Writer and Special Projects Coordinator, Curriculum
Robert Ginsberg, Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction
Mike Volpe, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources