Important Message from Dr. Tomko

To Parents, Students, and Members of the Belleville Public Schools Community,
 
I am sure by now most of you have been following the recent activity in consideration of Coronavirus and preparations for academic recovery being made by districts in case of an emergency closing. In fact, only as recent as March 5, 2020 did the Commissioner of Education, Dr. Repollet release guidance to chief school administrators around the state and me in consideration of regulations pertinent to home instruction and e-learning platforms as a tool to mitigate lost days of instruction in the event that an emergency closing of the district schools is called by the Belleville Public Health Officer.  As you may know, the Belleville Public Schools district has been working on an e-learning platform for several years now to help offset snow and emergency closings.  Unfortunately, although we are moving in that direction as a district, state education officials are not ready as of yet to change the regulations that would allow this to occur.  However, since the preparations for closure due to Coronavirus fall now under a "special circumstance," we are actively preparing to utilize an e-learning platform and other home instruction and distance learning measures to continue to provide valuable, academic instruction should students and faculty be forced to refrain from attending school/work due to a health emergency.
 
In preparing for this, our building principals, supervisors, and central office team will be working with our district faculty this week to create lesson plan objectives and suggest resources in order to deliver home instruction, if and when necessary, by digital dissemination and "hard copy" delivery for those individual families who may not have sufficient access to the Internet at home.  To ensure that we provide content for every individual, we will be surveying students in classes and, in some cases you directly at home, to clarify your Internet access status so your child receives a successful method of delivery of academic instruction should the district schools be forced to close due to a medical emergency.
 
Please, there is no need to panic, and this is not some underlying message that a school closing due to Coronavirus or any other public health emergency is inevitable.  Rather, since we have the technology, time, and the means to be proactive, I am focusing our district on being prepared for an emergency event but remain positive and confident that these will only be precautionary measures.  Like so many other trials, tribulations, and mandates that I have faced in my career as an educational leader, this too shall be a successful reminder of how a family works together in a time of need.  We are a strong faculty and administrative team, but even a stronger school community with you as our partners.  Together, we have proven often that Belleville stands together for each other in times of need.
 
Once again, I remind you to take all of the preventative measures necessary to remain safe during this public health event and the remainder of the Influenza season.
 
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your building principal or me.

Richard D. Tomko, Ph.D., M.J.
Superintendent of Schools
Belleville Public Schools District

973-450-3500, ext. 1022