NBPS Emergency Virtual Instruction Plan

  • OVERVIEW

    As of October 2023

    In April 2020, Governor Murphy issued an executive order that became P.L.2020, c.27. This law provides for the continuity of instruction in the event of a public-health related district closure so that LEAs can utilize virtual or remote instruction to satisfy the 180-day requirement pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:7F-9. 

     

    New Brunswick Public Schools’ Emergency Virtual Instruction Plan (per Board Policy 2425) would be implemented during a district closure lasting more than three consecutive school days due to a declared state of emergency, declared public health emergency, or a directive by the appropriate health agency or officer to institute a public health-related closure. District closure would be declared by the superintendent of schools in consultation with the board of education, if practicable, prior to implementing the school district’s plan of virtual or remote instruction. A day of virtual or remote instruction, if instituted under a plan approved by the Commissioner of Education, is considered the equivalent of a full day of school attendance for the purposes of meeting State and local graduation requirements, awarding of course credit, and such other matters as determined by the Commissioner of Education. 





    Communications and Planning

     

     

    Continuity of Student Learning and Operations

     

    The District has planned a proactive approach for the continuity of student learning and operations in the event of an extended school closure.  This plan includes the continuity of learning for students with (IEPs and 504s) disabilities to the greatest extent possible.  IEP and 504 teams will determine whether students would benefit best from homebound services such as online or virtual instruction, instructional telephone calls, and other curriculum-based instructional activities, to the extent available. In addition, the plan includes  the distribution of student devices and the preparation of teaching resources and eLearning tools.

     

    CONTINUITY OF TEACHING AND LEARNING

    Demographic Overview:

    New Brunswick Public Schools enrolls 9,143 students from preschool through grade 12. Reflecting the multicultural nature of the community, approximately two-thirds of the students speak one of 29 languages other than English at home. 

    District Demographic Profile

     

    Demographic 

    Number of Students

    State Funded Preschool

    525

    Homeless Students

    229

    Low Socioeconomic (LSE)

    7,075

    Students with Disabilities

    1,625

    English Language Learners (ELLs)

    2,961

         Data as of 09/05/2023

     

    Grades Pre-K-12 - 1:1 District-Issued Device Models

    • Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 Student Devices 

      • All students in Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 are using a 1:1 cart model in the classroom.  

      • Should devices have to go home with students, they will be capable of connecting to WIFI including home networks, Optimum WIFI, and hotspots. Classroom teachers will have the flexibility to send students home with devices as needed. 

      • Carts and devices were prepped by the Technology Department, organized and separated by school/homeroom, and delivered to schools for distribution at schools.

     

    • Students in grades 3-12 will be expected to bring devices to school fully charged while in session. Certain elementary schools have moved to a 1:1 cart model in grades 3-5. 

     

    • Grades 6-8 1:1 Verizon Innovative Learning (VILS) CTL Chromebooks - Only for students in New Brunswick Middle School, Blanquita B. Valenti, McKinley

      • Upon delivery of student Chromebooks from CTL, the technology team have prepped all devices based on most current student rosters in each building.

      • Device distribution will follow the guidelines of VILS plans and procedures including Verizon Memorandum of Understanding, Digital Citizenship requirements, and district processes.

      • VILS Chromebooks are LTE enabled and do not require Optimum internet service.

     

    • Student Device Breakage, Repair, and Replacement

      • Every school has a repository of loaner devices that will be housed in the media center (or other location based on school). 

      • Building Media Specialists or other designated Point of Contact (POC) will assist IT Support Specialists in the tracking and exchange of broken/damaged devices and providing loaner devices by using the following form: NBPS Technology - Broken Student Device Tracking

      •  
      • The Technology Department tracks devices and sends out for repair, if possible, and manages device inventory. Devices deemed beyond repair are inventoried, deprovisioned in Google Admin Console, and once board approved sent out to an approved recycling company.

     

    We are maintaining a proactive approach in the event of an extended school closure. Measures have been put in place to provide continuity of teaching and learning by taking the following steps:

    Equitable Access for All Students

    • In order for all students to have access to the curriculum during an extended absence, the actions below will be taken for those without access to a technology device and/or an internet connection. 

      • The locations and hours of operation will be announced by the school district via the district website, social media, TalkingPoints, and the SchoolMessenger communication system. 

      • A limited amount of hard copies (printed assignments with directions) will be available for students through grade 2. 

      • District-issued devices are capable of connecting to WIFI including home networks, Optimum WIFI, and hotspots.

    Virtual Instructional Plan

    In order for students to continue receiving high-quality, standard-based instruction, NBPS will initiate the following full-day virtual instructional plan in the case of an emergency school closure.  

    • A full day schedule:

      • K-5/K-8 Schools: 8:40 AM - 3:25 PM

      • Middle School: 8:00 AM - 2:45 PM

      • High Schools: 7:46 AM - 2:36 PM

      • ALC/CARES: Mon. - Fri: 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM, T-Th 3:30 PM - 6:30 PM  

      • A combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning for students will take place where all students and staff members will continue class virtually when school is in session.

      • Synchronous learning - Google Meets will be used to provide virtual students with live instruction. Examples of synchronous work may be:

    • Context to review and digest;

    • Pose the problem/task and ask students to solve it on their own 

    • Opportunities to collaborate with each other in break out sessions

    • Feedback to clarify and address a misunderstanding

    • Individual conferences for small group instruction between teachers and students

    • Asynchronous learning - Independent work will be provided to virtual students.  Completion of asynchronous work will count as attendance.  Examples of independent work may be:

    • Google Classroom assignments 

    • Working on kits provided by the teacher

    • Teacher recordings of a lesson

    • Time to engage in an online district subscription (i.e., Scholastic Lit Pro, First in Math, Mystery Science, etc.)

    • Projects

    • Daily reading with log

    • Daily physical education activity with log

    • Implementation of the Virtual Instructional Model to provide clear expectations on what virtual learning looks like in practice for instructional block/period to maximize the effectiveness and engagement of online learning

      • Virtual Instruction for Grades 1-12

        • For core content areas (English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies), virtual students will engage in synchronous learning which will allow students to problem-solve collaboratively, make their thinking visible, and reflect metacognitively.  

        • For special content areas, virtual students will engage in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning dependent upon the curriculum for the elective courses.

      • Virtual Instruction for Grades Pre-K - Kindergarten

        • Virtual students will engage in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning which will allow students to problem-solve collaboratively, make their thinking visible, and reflect metacognitively.   

        • Links will be provided for whole and small group instruction.

        • Students in Pre-K and Kindergarten will be contacted by the school to make arrangements to pick up the student’s device along with any materials they may need to use at home. 

        • Sample schedule attached for students in Pre-K and Kindergarten.

     

    Creation and Implementation of Individualized Learning Plans

    • Conduct student surveys and interviews to determine strengths and needs of students to develop and refine instructional models

    • Individualized students plans will be uploaded into a designated folder in the portfolio tab of OnCourse (SIS)

    • Students will be provided with individual-pacing plans that help the student track what they need to do to be successful in their coursework

    Develop and Identify Intervention Programs and Services

    • Implementation of multi-tiered systems of support where students were identified using multiple measures to provide Tier 3 interventions for WIN (What I Need) instructional period. 

    • WIN period provides students with high-quality intervention to strengthen conceptual and procedural knowledge to close an existing gap so that students can accelerate their learning. 

    • Programs for students in K-8 include remedial instruction offered through an explicit teaching model utilizing resources from Leveled Literacy Intervention, Supporting Ongoing Achievement Responsively (SOAR), Learning Ally, Scholastic Literacy Pro, Wilson Fundations, and First In Math. 

    • A Project-based learning program, which includes crafted instructional time for Math and Reading support for students in grades K-8, is being offered to address student interests, areas of need and provide social and emotional support. 

    • The High School Counseling department analyzed data to assess credit loss and shortages. Students who require courses to graduate are immediately placed in an appropriate credit recovery program. Students in grades 9-12 are participating in credit recovery opportunities provided by instruction through an  online learning platform, our CARES High School and through Individualized Learning Opportunities.  

    • Implement Extended School Day opportunities for students beginning October 2021. Instruction will be tailored to meet the needs of specific groups of students, in small cycles that can be continued or updated as needed.

    • Development of Social Emotional Learning Units to re-engage students, rebuild relationships, and create a foundation for academic learning

      • This work will support the social and emotional well-being and learning needs of our students, acknowledge trauma students may have faced during school closure, prepare for the potential trauma of returning, and recognize and fortify educators’ and staff’s strengths. 

    Recommended Changes to Testing, Grading, Report Cards, and Promotion Policies

    • Methods and considerations explicitly referenced in the NJDOE Guidance for scheduling students for in-person, remote, or hybrid learning, families/guardians may submit, and school districts shall accommodate, requests for full-time remote learning.

    Implement Intentional Curriculum Planning and Documentation

    • Intentionally select tasks and/or activities based on what students are ready to learn by planning purposefully with goals in mind for each student based on their specific needs.

    • Developing Project-based learning opportunities will allow students to explore interdisciplinary units and topics across the various content areas. 

      • Teachers also have the ability to assess students in multiple forms and to provide opportunities for student choice. This approach will also address the diverse learning styles of all students.

    • Provide students with a variety of ways to be assessed formatively and summatively

    • Revise and implement updated testing procedures for the following:

     

    Ensuring Equitable Practices in Instruction

    Students with Disabilities (IEP/504):

    • It will be determined if homebound instruction such as online or virtual instruction, telephone calls, and other curriculum-based instructional activities are appropriate.

    • Related services (e.g., Speech, OT, PT, Counseling) will be provided through online or virtual instruction, via the telephone, or through other curriculum instructional-based activities to the greatest extent possible. The district will utilize the “EasyTrac” system to track related services. 

    • If services can not be provided via virtual instruction, instructional telephone calls or other curriculum-based instructional activities during the closure, the  CST team (or appropriate personnel under Section 504) will determine whether and to what extent compensatory services may be needed, consistent with applicable requirements, including to make up for any skills that may have been lost.

    • If identified within the student's IEP, accessibility to assistive technology via their device.

    • Students with disabilities will have access to Chrome extensions such as “Google Read & Write” and “Learning Ally” which provide early and struggling readers with audiobook access and resources that will assist with building a better foundation in Early Literacy.

    • Special Education Teachers will utilize various ways to track students' overall progress. Teachers will continue to take anecdotal notes, integrate informal and formal assessments, utilize math and reading running records to track students' progress and utilize platforms such as Read 180 & System 44 to provide research-based instructional strategies 

    • IEP and 504 meetings will be conducted virtually or via phone. Our standard practice & process of ensuring that meeting notes and sign-in sheets are completed will continue. Utilizing the Frontline IEP System will allow case managers to follow up with students and families and remain in compliance with state and federal guidelines.

    English Language Learner (ELL): 

    • Instructional programs for ELL include an English as a Second Language (ESL) and Bilingual Education program as stated by the NJDOE Bilingual Education Act (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-15 and P.L. 1974, c.197). ELLs with language proficiency levels 1-3 receive bilingual instruction in their native Spanish language in order to develop academic skills while acquiring English language skills. All ELLs with language proficiency levels 1-4 also receive English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction. All language services continue to be provided to ELLs via virtual or remote instruction, as needed; all district curriculum, instructional resources, and assessments for ELLs are available in a digital format to be used as needed. Google Classroom and Google Meets are the two online platforms that Bilingual and ESL teachers use to assign work and meet with students to deliver instruction remotely.

    • All information is communicated with families of ELLs through the school website, social media, and other communication tools including TalkingPoints. The District website, which is translatable to Spanish as well as a variety of other languages, provides parents with materials, resources, and pertinent information about the different programs available for their children. The district has approved translators that translate all documents and communication to parents in their home language. In addition, oral translators are assigned to each school to help with translations as well as bilingual secretaries at each building support parents remotely and/or in person.

    • Certified bilingual teachers and ESL teachers design equitable online instruction by taking into consideration students’ academic background, native language proficiency, and literacy proficiency levels in English and Spanish. Bilingual and ESL teachers meet with ELLs via Google Meets to deliver differentiated instruction following the Virtual Remote Bilingual/ESL Instruction

    • Bilingual and ESL teachers are trained in Sheltered Instruction and provide English language support that includes teachers giving students clear expectations depending on the student’s level of English Language Proficiency, presenting the task, giving feedback, or providing comments to students' answers by connecting with individual students or a group of students. 

    • Bilingual and ESL teachers are required to assess their students via differentiated online assessments that not only include tests, quizzes, projects, reports, and online academic conversations that address the different language domains but also are based on students’ English Language Proficiency levels. Assessments are also administered in students’ native language by bilingual teachers. Instruction and assessment follow the guidelines provided by the WIDA Rubrics and the WIDA Can-Do Descriptors

    • All students have a one-to-one Chromebook device and have access to Google Applications for Education. Students log in via Clever to access all the educational online resources available to them per grade level. All the resources are translated into the student’s language. Students who do not have access to the internet at home, receive wireless hotspots for internet connectivity.

    • The district provides professional development to Bilingual and ESL teachers designed to support them in navigating distance learning. For example, staff receives training on Sheltered Instruction Strategies, the Bilingual/ESL virtual instructional modelstrategies for engaging and responding to social and emotional needs of SIFE/Newcomer students, and building supportive environments that respond to the immediate social, and cultural needs of newcomers and SIFE student during Virtual Instruction. 

    • Bilingual/ESL teachers also received online training in SEI (Sheltered English Instruction) strategies via Stockton University with a focus on culturally responsive teaching centering on using the FABRIC (Foundational Skills, Academic Talk, Background, Resources, Individualized Assessments, and Culture) Paradigm for ELLs, which focuses on cultural understandings, shown through empathy for their experiences, and activities that integrate their cultural backgrounds.

    • Teachers and administrators also work in tandem with district family liaisons and the District Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Coordinator to provide support and community resources to address the essential well-being needs of students and parents.  

     

    Teaching Resources/eLearning Tools



    • Websites

    PreK & Kindergarten

    Grade 1

    Grade 2

    Grade 3

    Parent Resources Page

    Parent University

    NBPS Staff Corner

    Substitute Resource Page

     

    Student Attendance

    • The District will continue to follow Student Attendance Policy 5200 and Regulation 5200. As per Regulation 5200, teachers will determine the credit to be awarded to the student. Daily attendance is based on student participation in synchronous and asynchronous learning. 

     

    • Teachers will continue to record student attendance as they have been in OnCourse Connect. 

     

    • Grades Pre-K-5: Teachers take attendance during Google Meets, then the homeroom teacher updates students’ daily attendance to “ABSENT - Remote” if the student did not participate in at least one online core academic session for the day.

     

    • Grades 6-12: Teachers track student participation online and update student period attendance to “ABSENT - Remote” if the student did not log in to course Google Meet. Homeroom teachers in Grades 6 to 12 must take Daily Attendance. 

     

    • Daily & Period Attendance:  Teachers have the ability to mark daily and/or period attendance for five days prior based on their students’ participation in eLearning for that class period/day.

     

    • Grade 6-12 schools can use the Active Attendance feature in OnCourse to review and update student daily attendance. 

      • Schools can also review a student’s daily and period attendance using the Period Attendance Matrix Report to ensure daily attendance was properly recorded. 

        • Full-day present - remote - a student must be present virtually  for at least one hour in the morning and at least one hour in the afternoon.

        • Half-day present -remote - a student must be present virtually for either one hour in the morning or one hour in the afternoon.

        • Tardy - remote- a student was not present during homeroom but was present virtually  in at least one hour in the morning and in at least one hour in the afternoon. 

        • Absent - remote - a student was not present virtually in a morning session and not present virtually in an afternoon session. 

    • The Data Center will support schools in updating daily and period attendance as needed. Principals are to follow Student Attendance Change Log Procedure to update student attendance when needed. Upon receipt of a school’s completed log to update daily or period attendance, the Data Center Team will review the student attendance data for that school and make changes/updates accordingly. 

    • Parent/guardians will be informed of the student’s absence via automatic robocall at 10 AM and 7 PM on the day of the absence. Student attendance is also available to parents/guardians via the OnCourse Parent Portal. 

    • In addition to communicating with parents/guardians via Google Classroom, the teacher will inform parent/guardians of students not participating in virtual instruction and/or submitting assignments.  

    • Resource: NJDOE Chronic Absenteeism Guidance 

    Extra-Curricular Activities

    • CDC social distancing policies will continue for student-athletes. New Brunswick athletics will not allow spectators for indoor sporting events. The NJSIAA has updated specific guidelines and recommendations.  The number of spectators allowed in attendance will not exceed 200 people by  capacity for sports events held outside during the winter season.

    • The District will follow all guidelines in accordance with protocols issued by the NJSIAA.

    WELLNESS

    • The District has participated in the Developing Resiliency with Engaging Approaches to Maximize Success Program (DREAMS Program) DREAMS is grounded in the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA) model where we will work to:

      1. Create safer schools through Trauma Foundational Training

      2. Promote and utilize shared Nurtured Heart Approach language and lens

      3. Connect community providers to local schools to create lasting partnerships.

    • School Social Workers and School Counselors are leading this work in the district and are the drivers of the NHA initiative.

    • Social Workers and School Counselors continue to provide mental health supports to all identified students.

    • The District continues to review and update the curriculum to ensure that all students engage in learning about mental health and social-emotional support.

    • The District will host parental engagement opportunities with a focus on mental health and social-emotional learning.

    FACILITIES

    • In the event that an extended building or district closure is required the following procedures will be implemented to ensure the facilities are adequately maintained. Though buildings will be closed for students and staff, maintenance and custodial teams will stay operational to monitor and maintain facilities. Based on the daily monitoring of all facilities, the size and operating hours of the maintenance and custodial team(s) will be adjusted. The District’s Director of Facilities Design and Construction will be responsible for managing the required workforce necessary to maintain the continuous operational status of all District facilities regardless of the “in-person” or the “virtual” instructional status.

    Cleaning 

    • Monitoring of cleaning/disinfectant supply usage is in place to facilitate the District’s goal of maintaining a 6-month inventory of cleaning and disinfecting supplies.

    • We will continue to follow our written multilevel cleaning and disinfecting procedures (Spanish) for cleaning and disinfecting all occupied spaces (offices, classrooms, halls, bathrooms, playgrounds, etc.). These procedures are aligned with the CDC guidelines and best practices. 

    • Written cleaning and disinfecting procedures are in place to notify school-based janitorial, and administrators of any changes in cleaning guidelines issued by the District or in response to OSHA and CDC revised guidance.  It is expected that this guidance will be updated in real-time based on circulating levels of the virus in local areas. In anticipation of this, we have established a “sign off” process for documenting that the new information has been read and understood by all custodial staff. 

    Facility Modifications

    • Clear Acrylic Guards

      • Guards have been installed at Security Desks in all district facilities.

      • Guards have been installed at Main Office counters in all district facilities.

    • Isolation Rooms

      • At least two Isolation rooms or areas have been identified or modified/constructed at all district schools. Where possible, these rooms have direct access to outside entrances

    CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS 

    Superintendent of Schools or Designee

    • Maintains authority over all pandemic or crisis management plans.

    School Business Administrator

    • Monitors and maintains the following departments prior to and during any emergency.

    • Work with the supervisor in each area to ensure proper responses to any emergency in order to maintain operations.

    Payroll

    • The Payroll Office will continue regular functioning from an outside location, if necessary. 

    • Payroll employees will work remotely from individual homes and access the payroll and attendance systems to ensure the continuation of pay. 

    Accounting 

    • The Accounting Office supervisors will be able to function in a limited capacity remotely to manage wire transfers and approve emergency purchases on an as-needed basis.

    Transportation

    • The Transportation Office will continue regular functioning from an outside location, if necessary. 

    • Transportation staff will work remotely and calls will be forwarded to District supplied cell phones of transportation staff.  

    • The Transportation Coordinator will assure buses are clean and sanitized and that drivers are free of illness. Additionally, the Coordinator will secure plans to transport ill students if necessary.

    Technology

    • The Office of Technology will work in collaboration with all the above-listed roles/departments to ensure the necessary technology is available to support all facets of this pandemic plan. 

    • The Technology staff will continue regular functioning from an outside location, if necessary. 

    • The Technology staff will also be responsible for the following:

      • Disinfection of devices;

      • Device dissemination;

      • Management of documentation and policies related to acceptable usage;

      • Inventory of all technology; and

      • Best effort to ensure wifi connectivity for all students.

    Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources / Director  

    • Maintains protocol for personnel policies appropriate for both possible long and short-term duration of pandemic absences.  

    • Promotes faculty/staff physical and mental well-being.  

    Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services

    • Coordinates with the Director of Special Education to assure necessary medical supplies and assistance are available. 

    • Communicates as necessary with the Superintendent of Schools, the District Head Nurse, and the County and State health officials. Monitors both student and staff absences.

    • Communicates with all school nurses and assists the district in altering their reaction plan as necessary.

    Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

    • Maintains academics and student learning with the support of supervisors, directors and building administrators. 

    • Ensures instructional materials aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standard are made available and designed to support student learning.

    • Communicates with teaching staff members with the exception to develop and deliver instruction and assessments through the duration of the school closure.

    Facilities Director

    • Takes appropriate measures to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the risk of viral transmission in the school facilities with vigorous cleaning policies and practices which include (but are not limited to) on a daily basis: 

      • Filling of soap and hand sanitizer dispensers;

      • Ensuring all paper towel holders are filled and functioning at all times;

      • Sweeping and wet mopping all floors;

      • Vacuuming rugs;

      • Cleaning and sanitizing hard surfaces including fountains, door knobs, work areas, computer keyboards, countertops, railings, stairwells, and writing tools;

      • Cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms -toilets, sinks, walls, floors;

      • Cleaning and sanitizing cafeterias - tables, chairs, food lines; and 

      • Cleaning vents.

    *The Facilities Manager with assistance from the Business Administrator, assures the provision of power, heat and ventilation, water, sewer, and janitorial services.

    Additional Essential Personnel 

    • District / School Nurses

    • District / School Security

    • Custodial / Buildings & Grounds Personnel

    • Food Service Personnel 

    • District / School Secretaries 

    • District / School Administrators  

    A listing of the above-listed essential personnel will be provided to the county office at the time of a transition to remote or virtual instruction. 

    CONTINUITY OF NUTRITION

    Nutrition Plan

    • In the event of an extended school closure, the District will continue the current plan of Meal Distribution of Breakfast and Lunch meals for ALL students.  

    • Multiple school locations will be open for Meal Distribution to the public.  

    • Parents/Students are welcome to go to any location and should decide on either a Monday/Thursday Schedule or a Tuesday/Friday Schedule.  

    • Each parent/student will be entitled to 5 days worth of meals per week.  

    • Parents/Students must know their student ID number in order to receive meals. Staff will also be available to help parents look up their ID numbers.   

    COMMUNICATION 

    • All information is communicated with families through the school website, social media, and other communication tools including SchoolMessenger and TalkingPoints. The District website, which is translatable to Spanish as well as a variety of other languages,  includes a designated advisory page that will house all information for the community. The information posted on our district website is also ADA compliant as the text can be picked up by screen reader software. 

    • In addition, as major updates are available, parent informational sessions are held both at the school and district level to provide our parents/guardians with opportunities to ask questions. The District makes every effort to provide communications to families in both English and Spanish to the greatest extent possible. 

    FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL RESOURCES AND GUIDANCE

     

     

    APPENDIX

     

    Reference articles used to develop instructional plan:

    Websites

    PreK & Kindergarten

    Grade 1

    Grade 2

    Grade 3

    Parent Resources Page

    Parent University

    NBPS Staff Corner

    Substitute Virtual Tools and Resources Page

    Technology Newsletters