Soon after School Board Notes was posted online yesterday, March 17, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) released a comprehensive 15-page document, “Frequently Asked Questions Related to COVID-19 School Closures.”

The document, which is also included in NJSBA’s COVID-19 Resource Center webpage, provides guidance on a range of topics, including questions involving special education students, how school closures affect statewide testing for the school year, district reimbursement for feeding eligible students during a health-related closure, how students who are participating in the portfolio appeals process can meet their graduation requirements, and the impact of school closures on student teachers who need clinical practice hours.

An area of special interest to boards of education involves whether in a school closure, there are any non-teaching personnel that may be deemed essential and required to perform certain duties.  The NJDOE noted that it is likely that certain staff would be needed in most districts, including the chief school administrator, the school business administrator, IT staff, staff involved in the preparation and delivery of food, and maintenance staff to provide access to district facilities and to clean and sanitize buildings as needed.

The FAQ also reiterates guidance provided by the N.J. Department of Community Affairs on holding board of education meetings remotely. A more detailed article on that topic is in this week’s School Board Noteshere.